Washington’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly from 4.5 to 4.6 percent, primarily because of a jump in the state’s pool of available workers.
“The stronger job market attracted many more job seekers into the labor force in August,” says Paul Turek, labor economist for the state Employment Security Department. “Although most found jobs, those who didn’t pushed the unemployment rate up a touch.”
The state’s economy added an estimated 2,000 jobs last month, while the available pool of workers grew by 16,900 — in the metro-Seattle area alone, 5,500 joined the labor force. Private sector employment grew by 4,900 in August, while government jobs declined by 2,900 jobs.
Pierce County’s unemployment rate last month is estimated at 5.0 percent, 4.7 percent in metro-Olympia, 5.9 percent in Mason County and 6.0 percent for greater Centralia-Chehalis. The national jobless rate in August was 4.4 percent.
Compared to the same time last year, there are an estimated 83,000 more jobs filled in Washington, with the largest growth in Government (15,800) and Construction at plus-13,800 jobs. Education and health services sectors added 11,700 additional positions over 2016.
Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 48,504 Washington residents last month.