Wash. unemployment stats yield split results

The two surveys that are used to produce the monthly unemployment rate and job numbers for the state of Washington generated widely different results for September.

According to last month’s survey of Washington business, the state had an estimated net loss of 18,400 jobs in September, mostly due to continued cuts in government jobs. By contrast, a survey of households found that more people in Washington state were working. This resulted in a drop in the unemployment rate from 9.3 percent in August to an estimated 9.1 percent in September.

The surveys are run each month by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Under the BLS schedule, initial monthly reports contain preliminary data that are revised later.

“It’s not unusual for the surveys to generate somewhat different results, but the gap between the two September surveys is much larger than we usually see,” said Greg Weeks, the director of Employment Security’s Office of Labor Market & Economic Analysis. Based on previous experience, Weeks said he expects to see a revision later this month that will narrow the gap. “We probably lost some jobs last month, but not as many as the preliminary data suggest.”

If the final results show a job loss last month, it will be the first reduction since August 2010.

Industries that posted job gains in September included aerospace, up 1,000; manufacturing, up 800; education & health services, up 600; professional & business services, up 100. Jobs were lost in government, down 10,800; leisure and hospitality, down 3,400; construction, down 1,800; information, down 1,100; transportation, warehousing & utilities, down 900; wholesale trade, down 900; other services, down 500; financial activities, down 200; retail trade, down 200.

The year-over-year net job growth of 27,300 includes an estimated gain of 44,600 private-sector jobs and a loss of 17,300 government jobs. An estimated 317,594 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in September, and 202,915 of them received $229 million in unemployment benefits. As of Oct. 8, 62,229 workers in Washington had run out of all unemployment benefits.