The start of the new year promises to be a cautious one for the unemployed in Pierce County. Although the percentage of Washington State's unemployed dropped from 7.7 percent in November to 7.6 percent in December, the overall view of this decline in the unemployment rate is being viewed as cautiously optimistic.
According to chief labor economist for Employment Security, Joe Elling, the amount of workers in the labor force has shrunk which in turn has artificially lowered the state's unemployment numbers. Currently, early data shows a decline of 7,900 jobs. This information is seasonally adjusted and hasn't factored in additional data that will lead to a possible revision of those numbers later.
Currently, 262,500 people in Washington State are looking for work. Unemployed workers who have quit searching for jobs are not reflected in the state's unemployment rate.
The Employment Security Department's release of the December jobs report gives some insight on the cautious views of job growth/creation in Washington. Industries that saw gains in December: construction, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and wholesale trade. Industries that saw declines were: retail trade, professional and business services, and manufacturing.
Although Congress recently renewed the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation, those who have run out of benefits in Washington State was tallied at 4,186 for the month of December.