Regional News

Washington has recouped its recession job losses

Mar 05, 2014

Washington now has more jobs than before the start of the Great Recession, according to economists with the state’s Employment Security Department.

Employment Security and the U.S. Department of Labor recently completed an annual statistical update, called benchmarking, which adjusted past estimates with jobs data from employers’ quarterly tax filings.

The latest benchmarking indicates the state didn’t lose as many jobs as originally thought and, furthermore, has more than recovered those job losses. Previous data suggested the state lost about 205,000 jobs from February 2008 through February 2010. Economists now believe the losses were around 189,000.

The benchmarking also found that Washington added more jobs in 2013 than previously announced, bringing net job growth from February 2010 through January 2014 to nearly 193,000 – surpassing the recession losses.

“The new data indicate that our economy is stronger, and has been stronger, than our monthly surveys have shown,” said Paul Turek, an Employment Security labor economist.

For January, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was an estimated 6.4 percent, the lowest since fall of 2008. The December estimate of 6.6 percent has been revised upward to 6.7 percent.

Also in January, the state gained an estimated 3,800 jobs. The original estimate for December was revised to 6,700 – 1,900 more than previously announced.

Turek attributed January’s declining unemployment rate to increased hiring. By contrast, declines in 2013 were caused largely by a shrinking workforce as discouraged job seekers stopped looking for work.

During the one-year period ending in January, the department estimates that 53,500 jobs were added statewide.

The largest job growth in January occurred in the construction industry, with a gain of 2,500 jobs. Jobs also were added in private education and health services, up 2,300; government, up 1,100; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 900; information, up 800; leisure and hospitality, up 700; manufacturing, up 600; mining and logging, up 200; and other services, up 200.

Job losses in January occurred in professional and business services, down 2,700; retail trade, down 1,700; wholesale trade, down 600; and financial services, down 500.

In January, an estimated 221,900 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That included 105,464 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.

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