State’s Labor Market Continued to Improve in July

Washington’s economy gained 13,400 jobs in July and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for July was unchanged at 4.6 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

“Ordinarily this amount of gain in payroll employment would serve to chip away at the unemployment rate” said Paul Turek, economist for the department, “but the rate remained unchanged as labor force participation edged up again.”

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 June’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.6 was confirmed. June’s preliminary estimated gain of 6,000 jobs was revised to a gain of 7,600 jobs.

The national unemployment rate also remained unchanged at 3.7 percent in July 2019. In July 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 47,227 people in July.

Labor force keeps growing

The state’s labor force in July was 3,885,500 – an increase of 6,600 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 2,300 over the same period.

From July 2018 through July 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 93,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 33,500.

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 10,900 while the public sector gained 2,500 jobs in July. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in government up 2,500 jobs, professional & business services up 2,100 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 2,000 jobs, construction up 1,900 jobs, education & health services up 1,400 jobs and manufacturing up 1,200 jobs. Also posting gains were information up 900 jobs, other services up 800 jobs, financial activities up 600 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 400 jobs both wholesale trade and mining & logging each up 100 jobs. Only retail trade lost 600 jobs.

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

Washington added an estimated 86,400 new jobs from July 2018 through July 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.9 percent, up an estimated 82,100 jobs, while public sector employment rose 0.8 percent with a net gain of 4,300 jobs.

From July 2018 through July 2019, twelve out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while one sector contracted.

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

  • Professional & business services with 19,200 new jobs
  • Education & health services with 14,800 new jobs
  • Manufacturing with 9,400 new jobs