State unemployment rate remains at 5.8 percent

Washington state’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent during the month of March, according to a report issued by the state’s Employment Security Department (ESD) on Wednesday.

Despite the unchanged rate, the state added 9,000 new jobs between February and March, with the greatest job growth in the professional & business services sector (+2,200 jobs).

Washington’s state labor economist, Paul Turek, said that the state continues to enjoy steady job growth, but changes in the labor market are impacting the unemployment rate.

“The state added nearly 100,000 new jobs since last year, but at the same time, 92,500 more people entered the labor market to compete for those jobs – and that’s been keeping the unemployment rate from declining,” said Turek.

Between February and March, the state’s labor force increased by more than 13,000, according to ESD.

Year-over-year, Washington state added 98,200 new jobs (March 2015 to March 2016), not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 87,600 jobs and the public sector added 10,600, according to ESD’s Monthly Employment Report.

The top four industry sectors with the largest employment gains during the past year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Professional & business services (+17,100 jobs)
  • Retail trade (+14,900 jobs)
  • Leisure & hospitality (+14,300 jobs)
  • Construction (+10,900 jobs)

Sectors seeing job loss between March 2015 and March 2016 were the mining and logging industries (-600 jobs) and manufacturing (-2,300 jobs).


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