Washington unemployment rate flat in October

Posted on November 20, 2013 

Here's a news release from the Washington State Employment Security Department talking about the September and October unemployment rate. Whatcom County numbers are expected to be released next week:

OLYMPIA – After twenty-two straight months of job growth, the number of seasonally adjusted jobs in Washington fell by an estimated 1,400 in September and 8,100 in October, according to the latest report from the Employment Security Department.

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained largely the same the past two months. From the 7 percent rate in August, it dipped slightly to 6.9 percent in September and returned to an estimated 7 percent in October.

Due to the Oct. 1-16 federal government shutdown, the September employment report was not issued in October. The data for both months were combined into a single report issued today by Washington’s Employment Security Department.

The federal furloughs did not affect the October job numbers, since those jobs were not eliminated, said Paul Turek, a labor economist with Employment Security. However, the furloughs may have affected the estimated unemployment rate, which is based on a survey that asks individuals whether they were working during the second week of the month.

He noted that Washington did gain jobs in September and October, but not as many as normal, so it appears as a job loss when seasonable adjustments are made. The drops are likely related to recent statistical adjustments and some softening of the economy, he said.

“We enjoyed a very long growth streak, but we should expect there will be ups and downs over time as the recovery gradually strengthens,” Turek said.

Both the job numbers and the unemployment rate may be revised as more information comes in.

Industries with job gains in October wholesale trade, up 1,000; retail trade, up 400; other services, up 300; government, up 200 jobs, mostly in K-12 education and state higher education; and the transportation, warehousing and utilities industry, up 100.

Industries that reported job losses included education and health services, down 2,800 jobs; construction, down 2,800; leisure and hospitality, down 2,700; manufacturing, down 1,300 jobs; professional and business services, down 300; financial activities, down 100; and information, down 100.

In October, an estimated 241,300 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 94,951 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.

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