Washington jobs report shows promising start to new year

Olympia - Washington state added 6,800 jobs in January and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate came in at 4.7 percent, according to the Employment Security Department.   

“Signs point to a strong labor market,” said Paul Turek for the department. “Unemployment remains extremely low and wage growth looks to be accelerating.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its January Monthly Employment Report. The department also announced that December’s previously announced unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was revised upward to 4.7 percent. Similarly, December job gains were revised upward from 6,100 to 8,500 jobs. 

The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in January. In January last year, the national unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. 

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 70,908 people in January.

The state’s labor force also grew. It was 3,757,900 — an increase of 3,000 people from the previous month.  The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.  Private sector employment increased by 7,100 and the public sector lost 300 jobs in January. 

This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in construction up 3,100, professional and business services up 2,000, and retail trade up 1,800. Other sectors adding jobs were transportation, warehousing and utilities up 1,100, manufacturing up 700 and wholesale trade up 600.

Education and health services faced the biggest reduction in January, losing 1,100 jobs. Additionally, financial activities cut 700, leisure and hospitality as well as government both trimmed 300 jobs, information eliminated 200 jobs and mining and logging lost 100 jobs. 

Washington added an estimated 91,900 new jobs from January 2017 through January 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.1 percent or 82,600 jobs, and the public sector increased by 1.6 percent, adding 9,300 jobs. 

From January 2017 through January 2018, eleven industry sectors added jobs. The two industry sectors that did not add jobs were manufacturing which lost 800 jobs and mining and logging which lost 100 jobs. 

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Professional and business services with 15,700 new jobs; 
Construction with 14,100 new jobs; and 
Education and health services with 14,100 new jobs.