Senior economist says state job growth is encouraging, but still flat

Washington employers added an estimated 3,300 jobs in March, marking 18 months of job growth in the past 19 months, according to the state Employment Security Department.

The state’s estimated unemployment rate remained unchanged in March, matching February’s upwardly revised rate of 8.3 percent.

“March was relatively flat, with modest job growth,” Senior economist Dave Wallace said, in an April 18 press release. “It was encouraging that about half of the industry sectors added jobs and only two lost jobs.”

Industry sectors that had the most job growth in March were government, which added an estimated 1,300 jobs; retail trade, up 1,200 jobs; manufacturing, up 1,000 jobs; financial activities, up 1,000; and other services, which added 800 jobs.

Most of the government-sector job growth was in K-12 schools and higher education, while state agencies and the federal government lost jobs.

Only two industry sectors lost jobs: education & health services, down 1,600 jobs; and transportation, warehousing & utilities, down 1,500 jobs.

Since the low point in the recession, the state has regained an estimated 94,800 jobs, according to state officials.

An estimated 289,400 state residents were unemployed and looking for work in March, down from a peak of more than 365,000 in February 2010.

The Employment Security Department paid unemployment benefits to 189,467 people last month, down from a peak of more than 350,000 in January 2010.

As of April 7, 77,512 workers in Washington had run out of all unemployment benefits. About 12,500 people will lose benefits at the end of this week, mostly due to the required shutoff of extended benefits.

Another 11,000 people will likely run out of benefits by mid-June.

 

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