Washington’s economy gained 3,500 jobs in February and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for February was 3.8 percent according to the Employment Security Department.
“Hiring remained solid in February prior to concerns over the COVID-19 virus outbreak” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Our record low unemployment rate is unlikely to last, however, as the economic impacts from containment efforts become more clear.”
The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.
The department also announced that January’s previously reported unemployment rate of 3.9 was confirmed. January’s preliminary estimated gain of 6,800 jobs was revised to a gain of 7,700 jobs.
The national unemployment rate (preliminary) was 3.5 percent in February 2020. In February 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.8 percent.
Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 67,681 people in February.
Workers return to labor force after last month’s exit.
The state’s labor force in February was 3,962,600 – an increase of 7,400 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 100 over the same period.
From February 2019 through February 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 113,500 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 37,400.
The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.
Five industry sectors expanded and nine contracted
Private sector employment increased by 2,800 while the public sector increased by 700 jobs in February. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in construction up 2,800 jobs and professional & business services up 2,500 jobs. Also posting increases were information up 500 jobs and other services up 200 jobs. The eight industries that posted losses were leisure and hospitality down 900 jobs, manufacturing down 700 jobs, wholesale trade down 600 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities down 500 jobs, financial activities down 200 jobs and retail trade, mining & logging and education & health services down 100 jobs.
Year-over-year growth in payroll employment occurs for most industries
Washington added an estimated 100,900 new jobs from February 2019 through February 2020, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.3 percent, up an estimated 91,400 jobs, while public sector employment rose 1.6 percent with a net gain of 9,500 jobs.
From February 2019 through February 2020, twelve out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while one sector contracted.
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
- Professional & business services with 18,600 new jobs
- Construction with 16,800 new jobs
- Leisure & hospitality with 15,800 new jobs
Labor market information
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