Washington's jobless rate at 7 percent in August

Washington’s August employment picture looked much the same as it has over the past several months, according to the latest monthly report from the state’s Employment Security Department.

The state added jobs for the eleventh straight month in August, gaining a seasonally adjusted estimate of 5,300 jobs.

At the same time, a small decline in the total labor force, combined with an increase in unemployed people actively looking for work, nudged the estimated unemployment rate up to 7 percent from 6.9 percent in July.

“Statewide, our steady job growth has decelerated a little in the past couple of months,” said Paul Turek, a labor economist for Employment Security, in a news release. “That creates less incentive for people to enter or re-enter the labor force, which has slowed progress on our unemployment rate.”

Industries with job gains in August were government (predominantly in K-12 education), up 2,500 jobs; retail trade, up 1,700; wholesale trade, up 1,500; construction, up 1,200; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 600; information services, up 400 jobs; education and health services, up 300; other services, up 200; and leisure and hospitality, up 100.

Industries that reported job losses included manufacturing, down 2,200 jobs; financial activities, down 500; professional and business services, down 400; and mining and logging, down 100.

Washington added an estimated 62,500 jobs in the past year and has regained 85 percent (174,800) of the 205,000 jobs lost in the recession (all seasonally adjusted).

In August, an estimated 242,500 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 102,012 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.

County-level employment numbers from August will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

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