According to recent state and federal figures, Washington state saw an increase in payroll employment last month and a higher number of job openings in August.
Although Washington’s economy gained an estimated 7,900 jobs in September, per the state Employment Security Department, the retail sector lost 800 jobs. Meanwhile, the monthly unemployment rate remained constant at 3.6%.
“Jobs grew at a faster pace than the prior month,” said ESD state economist Paul Turek. “The demand for workers has been resilient, although the trend toward more modest job growth remains intact.”
Last month’s unemployment rate improved compared to the 4.4% rate seen a year ago in September 2022.
The state also saw unemployment claims drop last month. Benefits were paid to 54,073 people, a decrease of 2,862 paid claims in August. In particular, fewer claims came from two labor sectors: transportation and warehousing and health care and social assistance.
Washington’s unemployment rate in September was below the national average, which remained constant at 3.8%.
According to Employment Security, the statewide labor force declined by 6,000 people from August to September. However, over the past year, the eligible workforce grew by 53,700 persons, with much of the increase – some 42,200 individuals – occurring in the greater Puget Sound areas of Seattle, Bellevue, and Everett.
Statewide, private-sector employment increased by 6,900 jobs from August to September, while government employment increased by 1,000.
The sector showing the biggest job gains was professional and business services, up 3,900, including 2,100 jobs added in administrative and support services. That sector was followed by education and health services, up 3,600, including 1,000 jobs added in nursing and residential care facilities.