Washington Unemployment Rate Dips to 5.6%

OLYMPIA – Washington experienced continued job growth in July and the state’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest point since August 2008, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates released today by state Employment Security Department. 

According to preliminary estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released today, nonfarm, seasonally adjusted employment increased by 7,300 from June 2014 to July 2014. While the public sector lost 2,100 jobs, the private sector more than made up for it with gains of 9,400 jobs.

The state’s unemployment rate continues to drop, falling from 5.8 percent in June to 5.6 percent in July. Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area dropped from 4.8 percent in June to 4.7 percent in July. The national unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2 percent in July.

“Washington’s labor market continues to gain momentum,” said Paul Turek, an economist with the Employment Security Department.  “Year-over-year, the state saw growth in nearly every industry.”

Industry sectors with the largest employment gains in July were:

  • Professional and business services with an increase of 4,500 jobs, including  2,400 in administrative and support services;
  • Leisure and hospitality with an increase of 4,000;
  • Construction with an increase of  2,300;
  • Education and health services with an increase of 1,100; and
  • Retail trade also experiencing an increase of 1,100.

Government continued to lose jobs, down 2,100 positions since June, with 2,200 lost jobs in state and local government and a small increase of 100 jobs in the federal government.  The transportation, warehousing and utilities industry also lost 1,700 jobs.

During the one-year period ending in July, Employment Security estimates Washington added 92,800 jobs, including 88,600 in the private sector and 4,200 in the public sector (not seasonally adjusted). 

Year-over-year, Washington saw growth in every industry except manufacturing which experienced a modest loss of 300 jobs from July 2013 to July 2014.