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June 2017

State's jobless rate hits historic low

Washington tallied 1,200 new jobs during April, enough to shrink the unemployment rate from 4.7 to 4.6 percent. That number matches the state's historic low for unemployment that was reached in June 2007.

The monthly report from the state's Employment Security Department showed five sectors expanded, six contracted and two were unchanged compared to March.  Year-over-year, 11 of the state's 13 industry sectors added jobs. Only manufacturing (-8,100) and logging (-100) notched losses.

Unemployment this year is a full percentage point lower than the figure reported for April 2016.  In the 12 month period ending April 2017 the state added 76,500 new jobs (not seasonally adjusted). The private sector accounted for 61,700 of those jobs.

Paul Turek, the department's economist, described April's job growth as more subdued, but emphasized the state's economy continues to trend positively. "Jobs are being created, unemployment continues to fall and the labor market is tightening."  

The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent this April and 3.3 percent in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area.

ESD's report for April shows the greatest job growth occurred in government (up 1,900 new jobs), followed by transportation, warehousing and utilities (up 1,600), and wholesale trade (up 1,300). Retail trade increased by 900 jobs with the information sector adding 400 positions.

Education and health services reported losses (down 1,200 jobs). Also reporting drops were financial activities (down, 1,000) leisure and hospitality (down 900) and professional and business services (also down 900). Manufacturing eliminated 800 jobs and other services shed 100.  Construction and mining and logging were unchanged.

ESD has new labor market information and tools, including a video tutorial, to highlight popular information and data.