Strong Payroll Hiring Continues into January

Washington’s economy added 12,300 jobs in January and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for January was 4.5 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The January unemployment rate was unchanged from the revised December 2018 unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. The January figures are preliminary and are subject to revisions.

“The positive momentum in the state’s labor is being sustained for now” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The number of jobs added the last two months is impressive.”

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 December’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.3 percent was revised upward to 4.5 percent. However, December’s preliminary estimated gain of 11,400 jobs was revised to a gain of 13,800 jobs.

The national unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.9 percent in December to 4.0 percent in January. In January 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 73,119 people in January.

State’s labor force keeps growing

The state’s labor force in January was 3,836,000 – an increase of 13,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 6,600 over the same period.

From January 2018 through January 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 83,500 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 28,400.

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

Eight industry sectors expanded, four contracted and one was unchanged

Private sector employment increased by 12,000 while the public sector added 300 jobs in January. This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in education & health services up 3,900 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 3,100 jobs, retail trade and construction both up 1,900 jobs and professional & business services up 1,200 jobs. Other industry sectors posting job growth are financial activities up 800 jobs, wholesale trade up 500 jobs and government up 300 jobs. Mining & logging remained constant. The industry sector posting the largest decrease was information losing 900 jobs followed by transportation, warehousing & utilities losing 200 jobs and both manufacturing and other services each losing 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 83,700 new jobs from January 2018 through January 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.3 percent, up an estimated 89,800 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 1.0 percent with a net loss of 6,100 jobs.

From January 2018 through January 2019, eleven out of the thirteen major industries added jobs, one contracted and one was unchanged.

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

  • Education & health services with 20,200 new jobs and
  • Construction with 14,100 new jobs;
  • Manufacturing with 12,100 new jobs