State unemployment inches up, but still record low

Washington’s unemployment rate inched up to 4.6 percent in May from April’s rate of 4.4 percent, but the rate remains at historic lows, according to the state Employment Security Department.

Washington employers added 6,400 nonfarm jobs (seasonally adjusted) last month. At the same time, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point from April’s 4.4 percent, to mirror March’s 4.6 rate.

The increased unemployment rate primarily reflects more people looking for work in May.
There were healthy increases for most industry sectors in May compared to the two previous months. Industries with the largest job gains in May were professional and business services, with 1,900 new jobs, construction, up 1,200, wholesale trade, up 800, and education and health services, up 800 new jobs. Among major industry sectors, the largest decline was reported in information, down 400.

Since May 2006, 59,300 net new jobs were created in Washington. Over all, nonfarm job growth increased by 2.1 percent, compared to a national rate increase of 1.4 percent. Anyone needing help with his or her interviewing skills or writing a better resume can get free assistance online at and at local WorkSource offices. An estimated 145,200 people (not seasonally adjusted) currently are unemployed and seeking work in Washington.