State unemployment rate dropping

After several months of increasing or steady rates, Washington’s rate for the month of March dropped to 5.9 percent, on a preliminary, seasonally adjusted basis, according to estimates by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area was 4.5 percent. The state unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in February 2015 and 6.3 percent in March 2014.

The March Monthly Employment Report from the state Department (ESD) estimates employment increased by 100,900 jobs from March 2014 to March 2015, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, with 88,900 new jobs in the private sector and 12,000 new jobs in the public sector.

Washington’s resident labor force continued to grow with nearly 3.55 million people in the workforce, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16. The number of unemployed, or those who currently do not have a job but have actively looked for work in the last four weeks, dropped from 221,900 in February 2015 to 209,500 in March 2015.

“This is good news for Washington,” said state labor economist Paul Turek. “The state’s economy remains on track with an increasing number of jobs. The number of people in the workforce continues to grow while the number of those unemployed has declined.”

The state saw continued job growth from year to year in all but one major industry. The top five industry sectors with the largest employment gains from March 2014 to March 2015 were:

  • Construction with 18,500 new jobs;
  • Professional and business services with 17,700 new jobs;
  • Education and health services with 13,200 new jobs.
  • Government with 12,000 new jobs
  • Retail trade with 11,900 new jobs.

The mining and logging industry lost 400 jobs from March 2014 to March 2015.

According to today’s monthly employment report, the state gained 10,500 new jobs, on a nonfarm, seasonally adjusted basis from February 2015 to March 2015, including 10,000 private sector jobs and 500 in the public sector. The BLS revised February’s preliminary estimated loss of 600 jobs to a gain of 2,600 jobs.

ESD paid unemployment benefits to 77,470 claimants in March.

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