June Unemployment Down From Last Year Washington's 4.5 Percent Matches 1998 Rate for June

“The state’s unemployment rate grew one tenth of a percentage point in June 4.5 percent to 4.6 percent, according to Employment Security Commissioner Carver Gayton. The figure was down three-tenths of a percentage point from one year ago, and essentially matched the June 1998 rate.Little movement in statewide joblessness over the month is typical for the period given normal seasonal trends, Gayton said. June and July post very large increases in total employment but a corresponding hike in the labor force leaves unemployment relatively unchanged.On a seasonally adjusted basis, the state’s jobless rate stayed flat over the month at 4.7 percent, compared to a national average that dropped in June from 4.1 percent to 4.0 percent.Total nonfarm wage and salary employment grew by 19,900 positions. Manufacturing payrolls rose by 2,500 workers, with fairly typical seasonal gains in forest products and food processing, each up by 700, and stone, clay and glass, up 200. Machinery and electronics rose by 400 and textile and apparel manufacturing grew by 200.Aircraft and parts receded by another 200 jobs, bringing the cumulative 23-month reduction to 26,200, or 23 percent. The pace of the reduction has fallen off sharply from an average of 1,600 a month in 1999 to 950 a month in the first quarter of the year, and 400 a month in the second quarter ending in June.Construction ballooned by 4,600 workers during June, led by the normal summer growth in general building, up 1,400, and special trades, up 2,400.Wholesale and retail trade added 8,500 workers, with heavy gains in non-durable wholesaling, up 1,100, apparel and accessories, up 1,800, and eating and drinking places, up 2,800.Services employment rose by 5,400, led by strong surges in temporary help services, up 1,300, computer data processing and software, up 1,300, and amusement and recreation, up 1,900. Adding to the tourism buildup, hotels and lodging places jumped by 900. Health care added 800 workers.Offsets in the services sector came from a 6,100-worker cutback of federal census workers and a 6,300-worker seasonal decrease in education.Over the year, manufacturing payrolls in Washington were off by 11,700, with the bulk of the shortfall centered in aircraft and parts, down 11,900.Forest products was down 1,200, and seafood processing was down 900. Offsetting gains were found in machinery and electronics, up 900, fabricated metals, up 400, and fruit and vegetable processing, up 500.Construction grew by 8,500 over the year, and wholesale and retail trade rose by 20,100.Services employment grew by 27,100, with strong growth in business services, up 13,400, engineering and management services, up 3,400, and health care, up 4,000.Statewide, Ferry County in northeastern Washington was the only county reporting more than a 10 percent unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, coming in at 10.8 percent.Whitman County posted the lowest unemployment rate of an even two percent, with San Juan County half a percentage point behind at 2.5 percent.Pierce County reported a 4.8 percent rate, behind Thurston County’s 4.6 percent rate. Mason posted a 5.9 percent rate, Kitsap a 5.2 percent rate, and King County reported a 3.3 percent rate.Total nonfarm wage and salary employment adjusted in collaboration with the Office of the Forecast Council was up 74,300, or 2.8 percent.Pierce CountyIn nonagricultural wage and salary employment for Pierce County, the total workforce was up 4,700 over the end of 1999 to 245,700.The goods producing sector was up 200 over May figures to 39,600, but was down 400 from 1999. Construction rose 400 from May, and 900 from 1999 numbers, with buildings and heavy construction up 400 over 1999, and special trade contractors up 500 from last year.Manufacturing was down 200 from May, and down a total of 1,300 jobs from 1999.Nondurable products dropped 900 positions from last year, with a gain of 200 jobs in food and kindred products offset by a loss of 200 in textiles, apparel and leather, 100 jobs in paper and allied products, and 300 in rubber and miscellaneous plastics products.Durable products was down 100 from May and 400 from 1999. Lumber and wood products was down 100 from 1999, with metals, primary and fabricated, down 100 from May, but still up 100 over the end of 1999.Machinery, computers, electronic and electrical equipment was down 200 from 1999, but transportation equipment up 100 from May’s figures and up 300 over last year’s numbers.The services producing sector was up 300 jobs from May, and up 5,100 over 1999 figures.Transportation, communications and public utilities hiring was up 400 over May numbers, but down 200 from last year.The trade sector grew by 800 positions from May’s totals, and by 1,700 from December 1999. Wholesale trade rose by 600 positions since last year, while retail trade rose by 800 jobs over May, and by 1,100 over 1999 end of year totals.Eating and drinking places accounted, and other retail trade categories accounted for an increase of 700 jobs each over 1999 numbers. Automotive dealers and service stations dropped 200 jobs over last year, and food stores lost 100 jobs over 1999 figures.The finance, insurance, real estate sector was down 400 from 1999 figures.Services was down 1,000 from May numbers, but up 2,900 from 1999. The other services category was up 3,100 from 1999, with health services and other health services up 500 each. Private educational services was up 1,200 for the month, while being down 300 over December 1999.Government hiring was up a total of 100 positions over May, and over 1,100 more than 1999.Federal hiring accounted for a 600-position increase over last year, while other federal hiring, including the U.S. Census Bureau accounted for a 600-job increase.The Kaiser lockout continued through June with a total of 200 jobs impacted by the labor dispute. Kaiser and the United Steelworkers of America are reportedly negotiating an end to the labor dispute.”