Payroll Hiring Moderates Slightly in May

Washington’s economy gained 9,600 jobs in May and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for May remained steady at 4.7 percent, according to the Employment Security Department. The revised estimated April 2019 unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7 percent.

“The number of jobs the state’s employers generated in May is not as significant as the two previous months,” said Paul Turek, ESD’s state economist. “However, this month’s increase in employment is a good solid number and is greater than what occurred at this time last 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 April’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was confirmed. April’s preliminary estimated gain of 13,500 jobs was revised slightly to a gain of 13,300 jobs.

The national unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in May 2019. In May 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 49,926 people in May.

Labor force expands for fifth consecutive month

The state’s labor force in May was 3,876,400 – an increase of 6,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 1,700 over the same period.

From May 2018 through May 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 99,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 35,300.

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

Ten industry sectors expanded, two were unchanged and one contracted

Private sector employment increased by 8,400 while the public sector gained 1,200 jobs in May. This month’s report shows private job growth occurred in construction (up 2,200 jobs), professional & business services (up 1,800 jobs), education & health services (up 1,400 jobs). Also posting job gains were leisure & hospitality (up 900 jobs), other services (up 900 jobs), retail trade (up 800 jobs), wholesale trade (up 700 jobs), manufacturing (up 400 jobs) and transportation, warehousing & utilities (up 100 jobs). The information and mining & logging sectors were unchanged while financial activities lost 800 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment occurring in the private sector

Washington added an estimated 82,300 new jobs from May 2018 through May 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.0 percent, up an estimated 83,700 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 0.2 percent with a net loss of 1,400 jobs.

From May 2018 through May 2019, 11 out of the 13 major industries added jobs while two sectors contracted.

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

  • Education & health services with 18,800 new jobs
  • Professional & business services with 17,500 new jobs
  • Leisure & hospitality with 12,400 new jobs