Washington’s economy gained 27,900 jobs in March and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for March rose slightly to 4.6 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The revised estimated February 2019 unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.5 percent.
“The recent winter events have forced a great deal of volatility into the estimates” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “I anticipate job growth will even out and settle down as the year progresses.”
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 February’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was confirmed. However, February’s preliminary estimated loss of 8,700 jobs was revised to a loss of 14,400 jobs.
The national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in February and March 2019. In March 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.0 percent.
Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 68,651 people in March.
More people continue to move into the labor force
The state’s labor force in March was 3,862,100 – an increase of 13,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 5,700 over the same period.
From March 2018 through March 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 96,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 34,700.
The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.
Twelve industry sectors expanded and one contracted
Private sector employment increased by 28,400 while the public sector lost 500 jobs in March. This month’s report shows private job growth occurred in construction up 14,800 jobs, education & health services up 3,700 jobs, professional & business services up 2,900 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 1,400 jobs, other services up 1,300 jobs and wholesale trade up 1,100 jobs. Also posting job gains are information up 900 jobs, manufacturing up 800 jobs, retail trade up 600 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 600 jobs, financial activities up 200 jobs and mining & logging up 100 jobs.
Year-over-year growth in payroll employment moves back up
Washington added an estimated 81,600 new jobs from March 2018 through March 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.2 percent, up an estimated 88,100 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 1.1 percent with a net loss of 6,500 jobs.
From February 2018 through February 2019, twelve out of the thirteen major industries added jobs and one contracted.
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
- Education & health services with 19,500 new jobs
- Leisure & hospitality with 12,700 new jobs
- Construction with 12,600 new jobs