Washington State Employment Security Department announcement.
Washington’s economy added 5,700 jobs in January. Between December and January, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.4%.
“The state had to deal with renewed COVID challenges in January, resulting in slower but positive employment growth,” said the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) Economist Paul Turek. “Annual payroll benchmark revisions suggest that recent momentum in hiring remains strong.”
The Monthly Employment Report also includes:
- Preliminary job estimates for December from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Confirmation of the preliminary 4.5% unemployment rate for December.
- An adjustment to preliminary jobs data for December, with the estimated gain of 14,000 jobs revised to a gain of 13,600 jobs. The revised estimate represents a more accurate picture of developments in the job market for December by including additional information that was not available at the time of the previous month’s release.
ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 66,795 people in January, an increase of 8,208 over the previous month. Seasonal layoffs in construction and continued layoffs in the accommodation and food services sector were the major contributors to this increase in paid claims.
National unemployment rate
The national unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.9% in December to the preliminary rate of 4.0% in January. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for January 2021 was 6.4%.
State labor force edging back to pre-pandemic levels
The state’s labor force in January was 3,961,100 – an increase of 8,200 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 decreased by 19,200 over the same . From January 2021 to January 2022, the state’s labor force increased by 125,900 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 2,000.
From December to January, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 176,900 to 174,700. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 72,100 to 61,000 over the same period.
Of the industry sectors, in January:
- Nine expanded.
- Four contracted.
Private sector employment increased by 4,500 jobs while government employment increased by 1,200 jobs. Table 2 shows a summary of the job gains and losses in all 13 industry sectors.
Payroll employment recovery is progressing
Washington gained an estimated 186,700 jobs from January 2021 – January 2022, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 6.2%, up an estimated 164,200 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 4.1%, up an estimated 22,500 jobs.
From January 2021 – January 2022, all 13 major industry sectors expanded
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year over year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
- Leisure and hospitality up 83,000 jobs.
- Professional and business services up 24,800 jobs.
- Government up 22,500