Little Change in State Unemployment Rate

Washington’s economy added 7,100 jobs in April and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for April was 4.8 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The April unemployment rate was slightly higher than the revised estimated March 2018 unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.

“Washington’s employment situation remains on a positive course,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Jobs keep being added each successive month and the unemployment rate has been at or around 4.8 percent for more than a year.”

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 March’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.8 percent was revised slightly lower to 4.7 percent. Job gains in March were revised upward from 3,900 to 5,100 jobs.

The national unemployment rate was at 3.9 percent in April. In April 2017 last year, the national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 56,813 people in April.

Labor force decreased slightly in Washington

The state’s labor force in April was 3,760,800 – a decrease of 700 people from the previous month. However, in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 1,300 over the same period.

From April 2017 through April 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 59,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 47,600.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Nine sectors expand, three contract and one remained constant

Private sector employment increased by 6,500 while the public sector gained 600 jobs in April.

This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in construction up 2,100, education & health services up 1,900, professional & business services up 1,800 and leisure & hospitality up 1,200. Other sectors adding jobs were government up 600, wholesale trade up 500, other services up 200, with information and mining & logging both up 100.

Retail trade experienced the biggest reduction in April losing 600 jobs while manufacturing lost 500 jobs and financial activities lost 300 jobs.

Transportation, warehousing & utilities was the only sector that remained unchanged.

Year-over-year growth remains strong
Washington added an estimated 85,100 new jobs from April 2017 through April 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3 percent, up an estimated 80,200 jobs, and the public sector increased by 0.8 percent, adding 4,900 jobs.

From April 2017 through April 2018, all thirteen industry sectors added jobs.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Education and health services with 16,600 new jobs;
  • Retail trade with 16,300 new jobs; and

Professional and business services with 13,000 new jobs.