Washington adds 6,700 jobs in October

Gains in private sector are offset somewhat by government losses

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian Port & Economy Reporter



Washington state added a net 6,700 jobs in October, the state Employment Security Department reported Thursday, and posted an initial unemployment rate of 8.2 percent, down from 8.5 percent in September.

The private sector added an estimated 9,600 jobs, seasonally adjusted, last month. However, the government sector shed 2,900 jobs, offsetting some of the private-sector gains and leaving the state with a net gain of 6,700 jobs for the month.

The October numbers may be revised later, Joe Elling, chief labor economist for the Employment Security Department, said in a news release, but “the overall direction is positive.”

In the 12 months through October, payrolls in the state fattened by 54,900 jobs. The state’s preliminary October jobless rate of 8.2 percent compares with 8.9 percent unemployment in October 2011.

In Oregon, officials said that state’s jobless rate for October was 8.7 percent — statistically unchanged from the previous month, at 8.6 percent.

Nationally, unemployment was 7.9 percent in October.

Clark County labor market data for October is slated to be released Tuesday.

Manufacturing gains

In Washington state, industries with the most estimated job gains in October were retail trade, which added 3,300 jobs; professional and business services, up 1,900; financial activities, up 1,800; construction, up 1,400; manufacturing, up 1,400; education and health services, up 1,100; and transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 600 jobs.

Industries with job losses last month included government, down 2,900 jobs; leisure and hospitality, down 1,700 jobs; and wholesale trade, down 500 jobs.

In the 12 months through October, the state’s private sector grew by 57,000 jobs, a 2.5 percent increase. But a loss of 2,100 jobs in the government sector dampened the private sector results, leaving the state with a net gain of 54,900 jobs, year over year.

Elling said the state’s manufacturing industry, especially aerospace, has posted strong job growth since the end of the recession. Out of the roughly 41,000 manufacturing jobs that were lost during the recession, about 4,800 of them were in aerospace.

Since the end of the recession in February 2010, Washington’s manufacturing industry has experienced a net gain of about 31,000 jobs, with more than half (16,300) of them in aerospace, according to the Employment Security Department.

Across all sectors, Washington’s seasonally adjusted employment has grown by about 124,000 jobs.

In October, an estimated 286,000 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 124,682 who claimed jobless insurance benefits last month.

Also in October, 3,589 unemployed workers ran out of jobless benefits, bringing the total to 115,947 since extended benefits were activated in July 2008.

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

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