State's June unemployment held still, but jobs surged

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from May to June, at 6.8 percent, while the economy gained an estimated 9,800 jobs.

“On balance, this is a strong jobs report that is split between a re-energizing private sector and a sagging government sector,” said Paul Turek, a labor economist for Employment Security, in a press release.

Industries with the most estimated job gains in June were construction, up 4,100; professional and business services, also up 4,100; leisure and hospitality, up 3,800; education and health services, up 1,600; wholesale trade, up 600; retail trade, up 500; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 400; information, up 400; and financial activities, up 200.

Only two industries showed job losses last month. Manufacturing had a slight drop of about 200 jobs. Meanwhile, government shed an estimated 5,900 jobs in June, more than offsetting the large estimated increase of 3,800 jobs in May.

Turek noted that the large swings in the government numbers, principally in public education, are likely due to hiring and layoff patterns occurring earlier or later than usual, which throw off the seasonal adjustment factors.

Economists use seasonal adjustment to remove or discount normal seasonal changes, thus making underlying trends easier to identify. When seasonal changes occur earlier or later than normal, it can cause preliminary estimates to appear larger or smaller than they really are.

“Overall, government employment has trended downward the past few years, and that probably hasn’t changed,” said Turek.

So far, Washington has regained about 84 percent (172,400) of the 205,000 jobs it lost during the recession.

In June, an estimated 237,100 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 114,479 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.

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