Job growth accelerates in June, unemployment dips

Washington’s job growth accelerated in June and the unemployment rate dipped, Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee announced today.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, nonfarm payroll employment jumped 7,600 last month, following a much smaller gain in May. At the same time, the state’s unemployment rate decreased from a revised 5.6 percent in May to 5.5 percent. The nation’s unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in June. 

“After a slight lull in hiring during April and May, employers really picked up the pace last month,” Lee stated. “The state’s economy is on solid footing and the near term job outlook is quite positive.”

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Washington’s payroll employment increased 25,500 from May to June. Job gains were evident in nearly all major industrial classifications during the month. Service-providing industries continued to account for the bulk of net new job creation, but there were strong gains in goods-producing sectors as well. Construction employment rose by 4,500 with continued strength in residential construction and a pickup in nonresidential activity. Manufacturers added 3,100 jobs to their payrolls in June, and the increase was split almost evenly between durable and nondurable goods producers. Natural resources and mining employment increased 200 from May to June.

On the service-providing side, strong seasonal hiring continued to boost leisure and hospitality employment (+6,600) in June. Business and professional services (+3,700) and retail (+2,900) employment also advanced solidly. Information sector employment was up 2,100, resulting primarily from increased hiring by software publishers. The transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector and financial activities sector each added 1,300 new jobs. Employment in government and wholesale trade increased slightly. Education and health services employment fell 2,500 last month, due mostly to an expected seasonal decline in education jobs.

According to annually benchmarked data, payroll employment in Washington increased 57,600 since last June, or 2.1 percent. This compares to a nationwide increase of 1.7 percent. Quarterly benchmarked data shows an even stronger gain in the state from last June, +74,200, or 2.7 percent. The number of unemployed workers fell 23,100 since last June.