Washington’s jobs picture brightened significantly in May, with estimated net growth of 11,700 jobs, according to the state’s Employment Security Department.
The estimated unemployment rate also rose slightly, from April’s revised rate of 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent in May.
Employment Security economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman said the higher unemployment rate was caused primarily by more unemployed people re-entering the job market. The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the estimated number of unemployed people who have looked for work within the past four weeks by the total civilian labor force.
“In this case, the higher unemployment rate could be a sign that people are feeling more optimistic about their chances of finding a job,” said Vance-Sherman.
As another sign of optimism, the professional and business services sector accounted for nearly half of the estimated net job growth in May, with much of it occurring in the employment-services industry.
“Businesses often turn to temp agencies when they’re ready to start hiring again, so we’re excited when we see job growth in that area,” Vance-Sherman said.
With May’s job gains, Washington has regained an estimated 102,500 jobs since the low point of the recession.
In May, an estimated 292,600 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work.
The county by county unemployment rates are expected to be released on June 19. In April, Grays Harbor unemployment dropped to 13.2% overall. Pacific County dropped 2 percentage points to 11.6%.