Unemployment rate falls to historic low in July

The Employment Security Department reported to KXRO that Washington’s economy gained an estimated 6,600 jobs (seasonally adjusted) in July.

Job growth was concentrated in the following industries: Leisure and hospitality, government, construction and information.

Also in July, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate decreased slightly from 3.8 percent to 3.7 percent. 

*Revised from previous preliminary estimates. Preliminary monthly estimates for job losses or gains are based on a small Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll survey while actual figures reported the following month are based on a more complete survey.


By comparison, the unemployment rate in July 2021 was 5.2 percent.

For June of this year, Grays Harbor unemployment rose to the second highest figure statewide for the month at 6.8%, while Pacific sat at 6.7%. 

County-by-county rates for July are expected to be released this week.

The national unemployment rate decreased slightly in July to a preliminary rate of 3.5 percent. 

For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for July 2021 was 5.4 percent.

“The unemployment rate in Washington reached a new low based on a review of state records dating back to 1976 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said Paul Turek, the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) state economist. “Labor demand over the summer has been strong, but the supply of workers is no longer growing like it was at the beginning of the year.”

Visit ESD’s website to view the entire Monthly Employment Report for July.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 34,461 people in July, a decrease of 1,786 compared to the previous month.  Decreases in paid claims within the construction and agriculture sectors contributed to an overall decrease in paid claims in July.

Labor supply contracts in July

The state’s labor force in July was 4,030,800 – a decrease of 8,100 people from the previous month. Labor force is defined as the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, older than 16.

From July 2021 to July 2022, the state’s labor force increased by 114,000.

From June to July, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 155,400 to 149,300. 

Of the industry sectors, in July:

  • Six expanded
  • Five contracted
  • Two were unchanged

Private sector employment increased by 3,400 jobs while government employment increased by 3,200 jobs.


Annual payrolls continue to expand for nearly every industry

Washington gained an estimated 161,700 jobs from July 2021 – July 2022, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 5.5%, up an estimated 157,100 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 0.8%, up an estimated 4,600 jobs.

From July 2021 – July 2022, 12 major industry sectors expanded and one contracted

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year over year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Leisure and hospitality, up 39,000 jobs.
  • Professional and business services, up 31,200 jobs.
  • Education and health services, up 22,200 jobs.

The mining and logging industry is the one sector that contracted, losing 400 jobs from July 2021 – July 2022.

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