Washington State Employment Security Department announcement.
Washington’s economy added 31,700 jobs in February. In February, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.3%.
“The February increase in state employment was the largest monthly increase since last July,” said the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) Economist Paul Turek. “The gains were broad-based with just about every major industrial sector having increased its payrolls over the month.”
The Monthly Employment Report also includes:
- Preliminary job estimates for February from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Confirmation of the preliminary 4.4% unemployment rate for January.
- An adjustment to preliminary jobs data for January, with the estimated gain of 5,700 jobs revised to a gain of 3,000 jobs. The revised estimate represents a more accurate picture of developments in the job market for January by including additional information that was not available at the time of the previous month’s release.
ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 55,819 people in February, a decrease of 10,976 over the previous month. Decreases in the claims from the construction, agriculture, and accommodation and food services sectors contributed to the overall decrease in paid claims over the month.
National unemployment rate
The national unemployment rate dropped from 4% in January to the preliminary rate of 3.8% in February. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for February 2021 was 6.2%.
Workers show more signs of stepping back into the job market
The state’s labor force in February was 3,982,400 – an increase of 22,000 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 10,500 over the same period. From February 2021 to February 2022, the state’s labor force increased by 111,300 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 43,000.
From January to February, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 173,900 to 170,800. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 60,700 to 58,800 over the same period.
Of the industry sectors, in February:
- Twelve expanded.
- One was unchanged.
Private sector employment increased by 24,400 jobs while government employment increased by 7,300 jobs. Table 2 shows a summary of the job gains and losses in all 13 industry sectors.
Annual payrolls expand for all industries
Washington gained an estimated 191,900 jobs from February 2021 – February 2022, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 6.4%, up an estimated 172,700 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 3.5%, up an estimated 19,200 jobs.
From February 2021 – February 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 72,000 jobs.
- Professional and business services up 31,200 jobs.
- Government up 19,200