Report: Washington state adds 62,500 jobs in 12 months

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

Published:

Updated: February 29, 2012, 4:08 PM

 

Employers in Washington state added a net 62,500 jobs in the 12 months through January, lowering the unemployment rate for that month to an estimated 8.3 percent, the state Employment Security Department reported Wednesday.

In the private sector, employers added 67,000 jobs between January 2011 and 2012. Public sector employers, however, shed 4,500 jobs, leaving a net gain of 62,500 jobs year over year.

The state’s jobless rate in January 2011 was 9.6 percent.

Statewide, job growth was “substantially higher among goods-producing industries (up 5.8 percent) than among service-providing industries (up 1.6 percent),” according to Employment Security’s report.

Manufacturing led all sectors in annual job growth, adding an estimated 22,800 jobs. The aerospace industry accounted for 9,200 of those jobs.

Other sectors that saw strong year-over-year growth included:

• Education and health services (up 10,800 jobs).

• Retail trade (up 8,900 jobs).

• Leisure and hospitality (up 8,700 jobs).

• Transportation, warehousing and utilities (up 4,400 jobs).

Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has completed its annual benchmarking effort, which used employers’ wage reports and other data to firm up previously estimated job numbers and jobless rates for each month of 2011.

That research shows Washington gained more jobs last year than previously estimated and that unemployment rates in the latter half of 2011 were slightly better than initially estimated.

For example, benchmarked data show that Washington gained about 53,500 jobs in 2011, compared to the 26,600 jobs previously reported.

Since the low point in the U.S. economic recession, the state has regained about 98,000 jobs.

An estimated 291,400 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in January. As of Feb. 25, 74,616 workers in Washington had run out of all unemployment benefits.

The January and February labor market reports for Clark County are slated to be released March 13 and March 27, respectively.

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