Washington saw solid job growth and an unchanged unemployment rate in January, according to the newest numbers from the state’s Employment Security Department.
Washington added 12,300 jobs to its economy in January and saw its seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate hold steady at 4.5 percent, unchanged from the revised December 2018 rate, according to preliminary numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, released as part of the Employment Security Department’s monthly employment report.
“The positive momentum in the state’s labor is being sustained for now,” says Paul Turek, an economist for the department. “The number of jobs added the last two months is impressive.”
Nationally, the unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.9 percent in December to 4 percent in January, down slightly from the national rate a year ago, 4.1 percent. Washington’s Employment Security Department paid unemployment insurance benefits to 73,119 people in January.
The state’s labor force — defined as the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16 — reached 3,836,000 in January, an increase of 13,000 people from the previous month, according to the Employment Security Department. The Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region saw its labor force increase by 6,600 workers over the same period.
The state’s labor force grew by 83,500 from January 2018 through January 2019, while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region’s labor force increased by 28,400 over the same time period.
Private sector employment increased by 12,000, and public sector employment increased by 300 in January, according to the report. The greatest increases in private job growth were in education and health services, up 3,900 jobs; leisure and hospitality, up 3,100 jobs; retail trade and construction, each up 1,900 jobs; and professional and business services, up 1,200 jobs.
Financial activities employment was up 800, wholesale trade was up 500, and government was up 300 jobs. Employment in the mining and logging industry remained unchanged.
The industry with the largest loss of jobs was information, down 900; followed by transportation, warehousing, and utilities, down 200; and manufacturing and other services, each down 100.
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