Washington experienced modest job growth in July, resulting in a 5.3 percent unemployment rate for the month, on a preliminary, seasonally adjusted basis, according to estimates by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This tracks with the national rate of 5.3 percent – and is consistent with last month’s unemployment rate of 5.3 percent. Washington’s unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in July 2014.
Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area fell from a revised 3.8 percent in June 2015 to a preliminary 3.7 percent in July 2015.
Continued growth from June to July
The July Monthly Employment Report from the state Employment Security Department (ESD) estimates Washington gained 5,900 new nonfarm jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis from June 2015 to July 2015 with a gain of 7,000 new private sector jobs and a loss of 1,100 jobs in the public sector.
“Washington’s economy continues on a positive track with 5,900 new nonfarm jobs from June to July 2015,” said state labor economist Paul Turek. “The number of people in the labor market decreased slightly since last month but we still have roughly 52,000 more people in the labor market than we did in July 2014 – and the majority of industries continued to experience growth.”
Eight sectors saw growth from June to July while four suffered losses and one remained unchanged. The top three industries with the largest gains, on a seasonally adjusted basis, were:
- Financial activities with 2,600 new jobs;
- Retail trade with 1,700 new jobs; and
- Leisure and hospitality with 1,500 new jobs.
Wholesale trade lost 1,800 jobs, government lost 1,000 jobs and education and health services lost 300 jobs.
Labor force contracts, number of unemployed workers up slightly
Washington’s resident labor force dropped from 3.545 million people in June 2015 to 3.537 million in July 2015. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.
The number of unemployed, or those who currently do not have a job but have actively looked for work in the last four weeks, rose slightly from 187,000 in June 2015 to 188,600 in July. ESD paid unemployment benefits to 55,891 people in July.
Year-over-year growth remains strong
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Washington gained 108,600 jobs* from July 2014 to July 2015, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, with 101,200 new jobs in the private sector and 7,400 new jobs in the public sector.
From July 2014 to July 2015, 12 major industries saw growth and only one suffered losses. The top five industry sectors with the largest employment gains from July 2014 to July 2015, not seasonally adjusted, were:
- Professional and business services with 24,000 new jobs;
- Construction with 18,600 new jobs;
- Leisure and hospitality with 16,800 new jobs;
- Retail trade with 13,600 new jobs; and
- Education and health services with 12,300 new jobs.
The mining and logging industry lost 100 jobs from July 2014 to July 2015.
Federal benchmarking results in downward revisions for December 2014
Each quarter economists benchmark monthly job gains and losses, replacing estimates gleaned from surveys of employers each month with data from employer tax records. *The benchmarked report based on new data for the fourth quarter of 2014 shows 15,500 fewer jobs than previously reported. While this reduced the overall number of jobs added by employers in 2014, the gains made over the year still exceed employment growth for 2013. Employment estimates for July 2015 were based on the new data plus seasonal adjustments.