Washington’s economy added 24,500 jobs in February and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate decreased from 6.0 percent in January (revised) to 5.6 percent in February according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).
|Month||Total Jobs (losses or gains)||Unemployment rate||2019 Unemployment Rate|
|March 2020||– 22,300*||5.3 percent*||4.4 percent|
|April 2020||– 387,800*||16.3 percent*||4.3 percent|
|May 2020||– 11,400*||12.5 percent*||4.2 percent|
|June 2020||+ 83,800*||10.8 percent*||4.1 percent|
|July 2020||+ 38,200||10.8 percent*||4.1 percent|
|August 2020||+ 30,500*||9.1 percent*||4.1 percent|
|September 2020||+ 12,000*||8.0 percent*||4.0 percent|
|October 2020||+600*||7.0 percent*||3.9 percent|
|November 2020||+12,000*||6.7 percent*||3.9 percent|
|December 2020||– 5,400*||6.3 percent||3.9 percent|
|January 2021||+ 10,100*||6.0 percent||4.0 percent|
|February 2021||+ 24,500||5.6 percent||4.1 percent|
*Revised from previous preliminary estimates. Preliminary monthly estimates for jobs losses or gains are based on a small Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll survey while actual figures reported the following month are based on a more complete survey.
“The easing of restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 is helping those in leisure and hospitality regain jobs,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “But hiring was also widespread across other industries, and the unemployment rate moved down accordingly.”
ESD 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 6.0 was confirmed. January’s preliminary estimated gain of 4,400 jobs was revised to a gain of 10,100 jobs.
The national unemployment rate decreased from 6.3 percent in January to 6.2 percent in February. In February 2020, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.5 percent.
ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 400,544 people in January.
State labor force increases with more individuals gaining employment
The state’s labor force in February was 3,837,400– an increase of 2,200 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 4,000 over the same period.
From February 2020 to February 2021, the state’s labor force decreased by 124,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 2,000.
The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.
From January to February the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 228,600 to 215,900. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 100,400 to 94,800 over the same period.
Twelve industry sectors expanded and one sector was unchanged in February
Private sector employment increased by 23,600 jobs while government employment increased by 900 jobs. Provided below is a summary of the job gains and losses in all thirteen industry sectors.
|Industry Section||Job gains/losses|
|Leisure & hospitality||+ 12,700|
|Professional & business services||+ 2,500|
|Education & health services||+ 2,400|
|Transportation, warehousing & utilities||+ 1,500|
|Retail trade||+ 1,300|
|Financial activities||+ 800|
|Wholesale trade||+ 600|
|Other services||+ 300|
|Mining & logging||+ 100|
Jobs lost over the year still a concern
Washington lost an estimated 213,800 jobs from February 2020 – February 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment fell by 5.6 percent, down an estimated 162,500 jobs, while public sector employment fell by 8.6 percent with a net loss of 51,300 jobs.
From February 2020 – February 2021, ten major industry sectors contracted while three industry sectors expanded.
The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
- Leisure and hospitality down 96,200 jobs
- Government down 51,300 jobs
- Manufacturing down 32,700 jobs
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