Payroll hiring surged in December, state says

Washington’s economy added 11,400 jobs in December and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for December was 4.3 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The December unemployment rate was unchanged from the revised November 2018 unemployment rate of 4.3 percent. The December figures are preliminary and are subject to revisions.

“Employers added the highest number of jobs since last July” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “December’s report caps off a year that has been solid for job growth.”

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

The department also announced that November’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.3 was confirmed. However, November’s preliminary estimated gain of 5,100 jobs was revised upward to 7,300 jobs.

The national unemployment rate rose from 3.7 percent in November to 3.9 percent in December. In December 2017, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 65,615 people in December.

The state’s labor force in December was 3,812,300 — an increase of 16,300 people from the previous month, the Employment Security Department said. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 4,500 over the same period.

From December 2017 through December 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 57,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 30,600.

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

Private sector employment increased by 9,800 while the public sector increased by 1,600 jobs in December. This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in construction up 2,400 jobs, transportation, warehousing and utilities up 2,100 jobs, manufacturing up 1,800 jobs, other services up as well as retail trade both up 1,100 jobs. Other industry sectors posting job growth are education and health services, up 800 jobs; leisure and hospitality, information and financial services, each up 500 jobs; and mining and logging, up 100 jobs.

The industry sectors that lost jobs were wholesale trade, down 600 jobs and professional and business services, down 500 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 101,900 new jobs from December 2017 through December 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.6 percent, up an estimated 98,400 jobs, while public sector employment increased by 0.6 percent with a net gain of 3,500 jobs.

From December 2017 through December 2018, twelve of the thirteen industries added jobs, while mining & logging lost jobs.

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

  • Construction with 14,500 new jobs;
  • Education and health services with 14,200 new jobs and
  • Professional and business services with 12,100 new jobs

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