Employers in Washington added 58,300 jobs year over year

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter


Updated: April 18, 2012, 5:24 PM


Oregon’s falling jobless rate triggers end of some benefits

Oregon’s falling unemployment rate should be good news. But recent declines made the state ineligible for federal extended benefits, halting checks this month to more than 8,000 people, according to the Oregonian.

That means the days of collecting up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits are over. “The maximum now would be 79 weeks, but for the most part it’s going to be less than that,” said Craig Spivey, an Oregon Employment Department spokesman. In addition, another set of federal unemployment benefits is set to vanish in December unless Congress acts. Without that, Oregonians would be eligible for just 26 weeks of state benefits.

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in March.

— Aaron Corvin

Employers in Washington added a net 58,300 jobs in the 12 months through March, with the state’s jobless rate remaining unchanged at 8.3 percent, the state Employment Security Department said Wednesday.

“March was relatively flat, with modest job growth,” Dave Wallace, senior economist with the Employment Security Department, said in a news release.

February’s jobless rate also was 8.3 percent. The state’s March 2011 unemployment rate was 9.4 percent. Unemployment is 8.2 percent in the U.S.

In the private sector, employers added 62,800 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012. Public sector employers, however, shed 4,500 jobs, leaving a net gain of 58,300 jobs year over year.

Manufacturing hiring

Overall, 10 job sectors grew, and three sectors shrunk.

Manufacturing led all sectors in annual job growth, adding an estimated 14,600 jobs. The aerospace industry accounted for 9,400 of those jobs.

Other sectors with strong growth over the year were leisure and hospitality (up an estimated 11,800 jobs), and education and health services (up an estimated 9,600 jobs).

Government continues to lead all sectors in annual job losses, down an estimated 4,500 jobs. State government lost 2,500 jobs over the year, federal agencies shed 1,400 jobs and local government lost 600 jobs.

Since the low point in the recession, the state has regained an estimated 94,800 jobs.

An estimated 289,400 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in March, down from a peak of more than 365,000 in February 2010. The Employment Security Department paid unemployment benefits to 189,467 people in March, down from a peak of more than 350,000 in January 2010.

As of April 7, 77,512 workers in Washington had run out of all unemployment benefits. About 12,500 people will lose benefits at the end of this week, mostly due to the required shutoff of extended benefits. Another 11,000 people will likely run out of benefits by mid-June.

The phasing out of extended benefits is triggered by an improving economy and a falling unemployment rate.

Clark County’s labor market numbers for March are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, April 24.

Aaron Corvin: http://twitter.com/col_econ; http://on.fb.me/AaronCorvin; 360-735-4518; aaron.corvin@columbian.com.

Aaron Corvin: http://twitter.com/col_econ; http://on.fb.me/AaronCorvin; 360-735-4518; aaron.corvin@columbian.com