The July update from the state’s Department of Revenue confirms much of what observers continue to note: Washington continues on a strong economic trajectory, highlighted by an all-time low unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in May.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose 17,200 (seasonally adjusted) in March, April, and May, which represents a solid 2.1 percent annual rate of growth. This was down from a very strong 2.6 percent average growth rate during the previous year.
As is usually the case, most of the net new jobs were in private, service-providing sectors, which added 13,200 jobs in the three-month period. Manufacturing lost 1,800 jobs due to a decline of 2,100 jobs in aerospace, but government payrolls expanded by 3,100 jobs and construction employment increased 2,600 in the three-month period.
Also of note in construction, Washington housing building got off to a strong start in the second quarter of 2017. In April and May, 45,700 units (seasonally adjusted annual rate) were permitted of which 22,800 were single-family units and 23,000 were multi-family units. The June forecast assumed an average rate of 45,300 units (seasonally adjusted) for the second quarter as a whole, consisting of 22,600 single-family units and 22,700 multi-family units.