Washington State Employment Security Department press release.
Washington’s economy added 17,600 jobs in September. Between August and September, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.9 percent.
According to Labor Force Statistics Manager Jeff Robinson, “September’s job gains show a steady economic recovery consistent with our state’s ninth consecutive month of net payroll increases.”
The Monthly Employment Report includes preliminary job estimates for September from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and confirms August’s preliminary unemployment rate of 5.1 percent. There was an adjustment to preliminary data for August, with the estimated gain of 16,800 jobs revised downward to a gain of 16,400 jobs.
ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 242,000 people in September, a decrease of 32,036 over the previous month. The decrease in benefit payments over the month was primarily driven by the end of the CARES act, with the majority of decreases occurring in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits.
The national unemployment rate dropped from 5.2 percent in August to the preliminary rate of 4.8 percent in September. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) last year, in September 2021, was 7.8 percent.
Workers continue to trickle back to the labor force
The state’s labor force in September was 3,936,900 – an increase of 13,900 people from the previous month. Labor force is defined as the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 2,200 over the same period. From September 2020 to September 2021, the state’s labor force increased by 66,900 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 23,900.
From August to September, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 198,800 to 194,000. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 88,700 to 85,200 over the same period.
Of the industry sectors, in September:
- Eight expanded.
- Four contracted.
- One industry remained constant.
Private sector employment increased by 18,100 jobs while government employment decreased by 500 jobs. In one of the tables below, there is a summary of the job gains and losses in all thirteen industry sectors.
Leisure and hospitality industry once again contributes most of the job gains
Washington gained an estimated 167,200 jobs from September 2020 – September 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 5.9 percent, up an estimated 159,200 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 1.4 percent, up an estimated 8,000 jobs.
From September 2020 – September 2021, twelve major industry sectors expanded and one industry sector contracted.
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
- Leisure and hospitality up 58,700 jobs.
- Professional and business services up 26,200 jobs.
- Education and health services up 18,100 jobs.
The industry sector that contracted year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, was:
- Manufacturing down 1,200 jobs.
Washington’s total jobs
|Month||Total jobs (losses or gains)||Unemployment rate||2019/2020 Unemployment rate|
|March 2020||-22,200*||5.3 percent*||4.4 percent|
|April 2020||-388,000*||16.3 percent*||4.3 percent|
|May 2020||-11,000*||12.5 percent*||4.2 percent|
|June 2020||+ 83,400*||10.8 percent*||4.1 percent|
|July 2020||+ 38,900||10.8 percent*||4.1 percent|
|August 2020||+ 30,100*||9.1 percent*||4.1 percent|
|September 2020||+ 12,400*||8.0 percent*||4.0 percent|
|October 2020||+ 6,200*||7.0 percent*||3.9 percent|
|November 2020||+ 7,600*||6.7 percent*||3.9 percent|
|December 2020||– 9,100*||6.3 percent||3.9 percent|
|January 2021||+ 8,100*||6.0 percent||4.0 percent|
|February 2021||+ 20,200*||5.6 percent||4.1 percent|
|March 2021||+ 23,900*||5.5 percent*||5.3 percent|
|April 2021||+ 13,200||5.4 percent*||16.3 percent|
|May 2021||+ 9,100*||5.2 percent*||12.5 percent|
|June 2021||+25,600*||5.2 percent||10.8 percent|
|July 2021||+24,300*||5.1 percent||10.8 percent|
|August 2021||+16,400*||5.1 percent||9.1 percent|
|September 2021||+17,600||4.9 percent||8.0 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.
Job gains and by industry and sector
|Industry Sector||Job gains, losses|
|Leisure and hospitality||+ 6,500|
|Retail trade||+ 2,900|
|Other services||+ 1,700|
|Education and health services||+ 1,300|
|Wholesale trade||+ 900|
|Mining and logging||0|
|Financial activities||– 100|
|Transportation, warehousing and utilities||– 500|
|Professional and business services||– 2,900|