State unemployment reaches record low

Manufacturing at Cadet

Washington’s unemployment rate has dropped to a record low 4.5 percent, according to a report from the state Employment Security Department.

The rate, based on employment activity during the month of May, is the lowest since comparable record-keeping began in 1976. April’s unemployment rate was 4.6 percent.

“Today’s great news demonstrates that our state’s economy is stronger than ever,” said Governor Jay Inslee in a press release. “When businesses add new jobs that creates more opportunities for workers, which ultimately benefits all Washingtonians. We must continue to ensure that people in every corner of the state enjoy economic growth and prosperity.”

According to the report, the state added 2,000 nonfarm jobs in May. Year-over-year, the state’s labor force grew by 59,100.

“The economic trend moving forward is positive,” said Dale Peinecke, commissioner for the Employment Security Department. “Businesses needing skilled workers and people looking for their next job should take advantage of the services and opportunities available through their local WorkSource career centers.”

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 54,135 people in May.

Employment by sector

The May employment report shows the greatest jobs growth occurred in leisure and hospitality (+2,500), education and health services (+1,800) and financial activities (+900). Additionally, professional and business services increased 400 and manufacturing added 100.

Transportation, warehousing and utilities faced the biggest reduction in May, losing 1,500 jobs. Wholesale trade cut 1,000, government trimmed 600, construction shaved 400 and information shed 100.

Mining and logging, other services and retail trade were unchanged.

Year-over-year, the sectors with the largest gains were:

  • Construction (+15,300 jobs);
  • Education and health services (+14,700 jobs); and
  • Retail trade (+14,600 jobs).

View the complete jobs report here.

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