Statewide unemployment hits historic low

In the latest release from the Washington Employment Security Department, 12,400 jobs were added within the state in October and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for October was 4.3%.

In the September county unemployment results, Grays Harbor and Pacific County were tied for the fourth highest unemployment rates in the state with 5.5%.

The department said that the October unemployment rate statewide decreased slightly from the September 2018 unemployment rate of 4.4% and creates a new historical low point for the state.

“The state’s labor market is continuing to tighten,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The state U-6 unemployment rate, a broader measure of joblessness, also fell in October to a new series low.

The national unemployment rate remained constant at 3.7% in October. In October 2017, the national unemployment rate was 4.1%.

From October 2017 through October 2018, the state’s labor force, or the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16, grew by 25,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 21,500.

Washington added an estimated 119,200 new jobs from October 2017 through October 2018, not seasonally adjusted.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated their “alternative measures of labor underutilization,” or U-6 rate, for states to include the third quarter of 2018. This U-6 rate considers not only the unemployed population in the official U-3 unemployment rate, but also “the underemployed and those not looking but wanting a job.”

The U-6 rate for Washington through the third quarter 2018 was 8.4% compared to the national rate of 7.8%. Washington’s U-6 rate is the lowest it has been since 2007.

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