State unemployment remains steady

While Washington’s public sector lost 2,900 jobs in October, the state’s private sector gained 9,800 jobs for a net gain of 6,900 new jobs this month, on a preliminary, seasonally adjusted basis, according to the October Monthly Employment Report from the state’s Department (ESD).

While the state gained jobs, Washington’s rate held steady at 5.2 percent for the second month in a row, according to estimates by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The state’s unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in October 2014. The U.S. unemployment rate remained dropped slightly to 5.0 percent for October 2015.

Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area rose slightly from 3.6 percent in September 2015 to a preliminary 3.8 percent in October 2015 because the number of people who were unemployed in October grew faster than the total number of people in the labor force.

The resident labor force statewide dropped slightly from 3.526 million people in September 2015 to 3.525 million in October. The resident labor force in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region grew from 1.584 to 1.585 over the same period. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

The number of unemployed dropped to 183,400 statewide and ESD paid unemployment benefits to 54,289. The number of unemployed in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area grew from 57,700 in September to 61,000 in October.

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth in the retail trade (2,600) and professional and business services (2,400) industries.

“Job growth bounced back in October after a slight setback in September,” said Paul Turek, labor economist with ESD.

Education and health services and construction both saw gains of 2,100 and 2,000 new jobs respectively.

Government experienced the greatest job losses with a reduction of 2,900 jobs. The manufacturing and financial activities industries faced losses of 1,700 and 700 respectively.

The BLS estimates Washington gained 85,800 jobs from October 2014 to October 2015, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, with 72,800 new jobs in the private sector and 13,000new jobs in the public sector.

From October 2014 to October 2015, 12 of 13 major industries saw growth — and the number of jobs in the mining and logging industries was unchanged.

The top five industry sectors with the largest employment gains from October 2014 to October 2015, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Professional and business services with 14,900 new jobs;
  • Retail trade with 13,400 new jobs;
  • Government with 13,000 new jobs.
  • Leisure and hospitality with 11,700 new jobs; and
  • Construction with 10,300 new jobs.

The state revised September’s preliminary loss of 2,200 nonfarm jobs upward slightly to a loss of 1,400 jobs from August 2015 to September 2015 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

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