Washington unemployment rate drops to 4.6 percent
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington state's unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent last month, a rate that matches the state's historic low rate last reached in June 2007, state officials said Wednesday.
The latest numbers released by the state Employment Security Department show that the April's rate was down slightly from 4.7 percent in March. The state also added 1,200 jobs in that timeframe.
"While job growth was more subdued in April, Washington's economy continues to trend positively," Paul Turek, economist for the department, said in a written statement. "Jobs are being created, unemployment continues to fall and the labor market is tightening."
The national unemployment rate was 4.4 percent last month and 3.3 percent in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area.
Overall, five industries in the state expanded last month, six contracted, and two were unchanged.
Government saw the largest job growth last month, up 1,900 jobs, followed by transportation, warehousing and utilities, which saw an increase of 1,600. Wholesale trade was up 1,300 new jobs, retail trade added 900 jobs and information increased by 400. The biggest reductions were seen in education and health services, which lost 1,200 jobs, and financial activities, which was down 1,000. Leisure and hospitality and professional and business services each eliminated 900 jobs, manufacturing was down 800 and 100 was cut from other services. Construction and mining and logging were both unchanged.
The state has added an estimated 76,500 jobs since April 2016, with the private sector adding 61,700 jobs and the public sector gaining 14,800.
Job gains and losses are estimates based on a survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate counts the percentage of people who are unemployed and actively looking for work, and doesn't include those who have stopped looking for work.
The latest numbers released Wednesday also include a broader unemployment measure released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That rate - called a U-6 rate - measures "unemployed, underemployed and those who are not looking but who want a job." The U-6 rate for the second quarter of 2016 through the first quarter of 2017 was 10 percent in Washington state and was 9.5 percent nationally during that same time period.