Metro Seattle boasts record low unemployment, as rural communities lag in recovery

Washington counties continue to experience significant differences in economic vitality as measured by unemployment rates. The May monthly employment report released by the state Employment Security Department confirms the familiar story. The metropolitan Seattle economy outperforms rural Washington in job creation. 

King County boasts an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent; unemployment rates of 5.1 percent or more are common throughout much of the rest of the state. Encouragingly, though, things are getting better in some communities. The Tri-City Herald reports

A full-scale building boom helped drive the Tri-City unemployment rate to its lowest level in recent memory for May.

The Tri-City unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, according to figures released Tuesday by the Washington Employment Security Department. That’s nearly 20 percent lower than a year ago and two-tenths of a point lower than in May.

As we wrote earlier, the hot metro economy is increasing hiring challenges for employers. Our two-fold recommendation: 
First, as we emphasize, we need to do everything possible to ensure that Washington students have the skills required to fill the 740,000 jobs expected to be opening in the next five years. Second, policymakers should intensify efforts to boost job creation outside the metro Seattle region, as many rural counties continue to struggle with high unemployment rates.
The Opportunity Washington Priorities for Shared Prosperity is a roadmap for expanding Washington’s culture of opportunity to individuals, families, employers, and communities in every corner of the state. The latest monthly employment report underscores the importance of our strategies.