While Washington experienced a loss of 2,200 jobs in September, on a preliminary, seasonally adjusted basis, the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 5.3 percent in August to 5.2 percent in September, according to estimates by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The state’s unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in September 2014. The U.S. unemployment rate remained steady at 5.1 percent for September 2015.
Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area rose slightly from 3.6 percent in August 2015 to a preliminary 3.7 percent in September 2015.
August jobs numbers adjusted upward, September shows slight loss
The September Monthly Employment Report from the state Employment Security Department (ESD) revised August’s preliminary gain of 1,600 jobs to a gain of 5,200 jobs, but estimates Washington lost 2,200 nonfarm jobs—all in the private sector—from August 2015 to September 2015, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
“Hiring across the state took a step backward in September, although forward momentum is still being sustained,” said Paul Turek, labor economist with ESD. “Some adjustments in hiring appear to be occurring as employers start transitioning to the holiday season, and some may be due to new challenges presented by global economic conditions.”
The professional and business services industry experienced the greatest losses with a reduction of 3,900 jobs. The construction and financial activities industries also saw losses of 800 jobs each.
Wholesale trade gained 1,100 jobs and other services gained 2,300 jobs.
Labor force continues to contract, number of unemployed workers also drops
Washington’s resident labor force dropped from 3.531 million people in August 2015 to 3.526 million in September 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, dropped slightly from 185,800 in August 2015 to 184,400 in September. ESD paid unemployment benefits to 52,431 people.
Year-over-year growth remains strong with gains in all sectors
The BLS estimates Washington gained 81,700 jobs from September 2014 to September 2015, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, with 71,900 new jobs in the private sector and 9,800 new jobs in the public sector.
From September 2014 to September 2015, all 13 major industries saw growth. The top five industry sectors with the largest employment gains from September 2014 to September 2015, not seasonally adjusted, were:
- Retail trade with 14,500 new jobs;
- Professional and business services with 14,100 new jobs;
- Leisure and hospitality with 11,700 new jobs;
- Construction with 10,400 new jobs; and
- Government with 9,800 new jobs.