The initial findings are in for Washington State’s June unemployment rate and job growth numbers, and they are quite positive as reported today by the Employment Security Department. Although our state’s unemployment rate held steady at 6.1% for April and May, June saw a decrease down to 5.8%, which is the lowest number our state has seen yet in six years. In comparison, the national number as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is trailing our state’s number by a few points, at 6.1%.
The unemployment rate decrease is attributed to the number of unemployed workers declining along with an increase in jobs for most of the occupational segments. The number of unemployed people seeking jobs decreased by almost 11,000 people, bringing the number of jobless to approximately 201,000. To compare, May’s unemployment report conveyed an increase in the number of unemployed workers by about 1,600, so it’s amazing to see that in one month’s time almost 11,000 people were no longer unemployed. It’s no surprise there was a decrease with the estimated number of over 9,000 new jobs that were added in June.
Although the sectors of government and construction and manufacturing lost almost 2,000 jobs, all other occupational sectors saw job gains. The largest gains were reported in leisure and hospitality, wholesale trade, and education and health services. It is estimated that during the one year period from June, 2013 to June, 2014, companies in our state added almost 85,000 new jobs (not seasonally adjusted). To compare, it was reported for the one year period from May, 2013 to May, 2014 that our state had added almost 74,000 jobs (not seasonally adjusted).
Although our state saw a slight stall with unemployment from April to May, it appears we could be picking up the downward movement once again. The question remains whether this will continue through the summer and fall months. For many non-retail companies, hiring tends to slow near year-end, so it wouldn’t be a large surprise if our state’s unemployment number leveled out in the fall and then decreased a bit more around the holidays with the seasonal hiring. We’ll just have to wait for each month’s report and hope the economic position in our state continues taking positive strides.