Employment Grows Again in June

Washington’s economy added 71,000 jobs in June and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for June decreased from 15.1 percent to 9.8 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). This was the biggest month-to-month drop in the Washington unemployment rate (5.3%) in ESD records going back at least to 1990.

MonthTotal Jobs (losses or gains)    2020 Unemployment rate2019 Unemployment Rate
March 2020-25,4005.1 percent4.5 percent
April 2020-457,800*16.3 percent*4.4 percent
May 2020+ 146,400*15.1 percent4.4 percent
June 2020+71,000  9.8 percent4.3 percent

*Revised from previous preliminary estimates

“The gain in nonfarm payroll employment coupled with the revision to May’s job gains are a welcome surprise and another step in the right direction,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “That said, the road ahead looks to be bumpy as the virus continues to spread, creating a less predictable situation for the economy reopening.”

ESD released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that May’s previously reported unemployment rate of 15.1 percent was confirmed. May’s preliminary estimated gain of 52,500 jobs was revised to a gain of 146,400 jobs.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 13.3 percent in May 2020 to 11.1 percent in June 2020. This is the first time in 70 months (since September 2014) that the Washington state unemployment rate is lower than the national rate. In June 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.7 percent.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 565,800 people in June, a decrease of 149,742 over the previous month.

Labor force activity mostly a transfer of unemployed to employed

The state’s labor force in June was 3,951,000 – an increase of 5,500 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 75,200 over the same period.

From June 2019 through June 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 43,000 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region grew by 52,800.

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

From May 2020 to June 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 593,900 to 388,400. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 246,600 to 165,400 over the same period.

Eleven industry sectors expanded, two sectors contracted in June

Private sector employment increased by 71,700 jobs while government employment decreased by 700 jobs. Provided below is a summary of the job gains and losses in all thirteen industry sectors.

   Industry sector                                        Job gains/losses

Retail trade+19,400
Leisure & hospitality+18,100
Education and health services+14,800   
Construction+8,500
Professional & business services+4,100
Other services+3,600
Transportation, warehousing and utilities+2,300
Financial activities+1,800
Wholesale trade +1,100
Manufacturing+100
Mining & logging+100
Government-700
Information-2,200

Year-over-year change in payroll employment reflecting jobs lost in March and April

Washington lost an estimated 312,400 jobs from June 2019 through June 2020, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment fell by 9.2 percent, down an estimated 265,700 jobs, while public sector employment fell by 7.8 percent with a net loss of 46,700 jobs.

From June 2019 through June 2020, all thirteen major industry sectors contracted.
The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Leisure and hospitality down 135,800 jobs
  • Government down 46,700 jobs
  • Education and health services down 36,300 jobs

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