Payroll hiring moderates slightly in May, state says

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Washington’s economy gained 9,600 jobs in May and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for May remained steady at 4.7 percent, according to the monthly report issued by the Employment Security Department.

That rate is slightly higher than the national unemployment rate of 3.6 percent in May 2019.

The revised estimated April 2019 state unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7 percent, the department said.

“The number of jobs the state’s employers generated in May is not as significant as the two previous months.” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “However, this month’s increase in employment is a good solid number and is greater than what occurred at this time last year.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its monthly report.

The department also announced that April’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was confirmed. April’s preliminary estimated gain of 13,500 jobs was revised downward slightly to a gain of 13,300 jobs.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 49,926 people in May.

The state’s labor force in May was 3,876,400 – an increase of 6,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 1,700 over the same period.

From May 2018 through May 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 99,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 35,300.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Private sector employment increased by 8,400 while the public sector gained 1,200 jobs in May, the department said. This month’s report shows private job growth occurred in construction, up 2,200 jobs; professional & business services, up 1,800 jobs; and education & health services, with an increase of 1,400 jobs. Among the other areas posting job gains were leisure and hospitality, retail and wholesale and manafacturing. The information and mining & logging sectors were unchanged, while financial activities lost 800 jobs.

Washington added an estimated 82,300 new jobs from May 2018 through May 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.0 percent, up an estimated 83,700 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 0.2 percent with a net loss of 1,400 jobs.

From May 2018 through May 2019, 11 out of the 13 major industries added jobs while two sectors contracted.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Education & health services with 18,800 new jobs
  • Professional & business services with 17,500 new jobs
  • Leisure & hospitality with 12,400 new jobs

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