October jobs report shows 6,300 jobs added in Washington. A cooling recovery?

The October jobs report released by the state Employment Security Department shows the state added just 6,300 jobs last month. Addition, as we’ve said, is better than subtraction, but this does represent slower growth. From the ESD:

Washington’s economy added 6,300 jobs in October. Between September and October, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.0 percent.

According to the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) Economist Paul Turek, “The state has been making continued progress toward recovering jobs lost during the pandemic. Constraints that may have prevented workers from re-entering the labor market are easing, and more workers appear to be taking advantage of the high availability of jobs.”

Seattle Times business report Paul Roberts writes,

The national job market may be rebounding, but hiring slowed in Washington in October, raising questions about the state’s recovery as it heads into its second pandemic winter. 

Employers in Washington added just 6,300 jobs last month, according to the October employment reportreleased Wednesday from the state Employment Security Department. 

That’s down substantially from September’s revised number of 18,800 jobs and represents the smallest increase since May, when the state added just 2,700 jobs, according the report. The state’s unemployment rate fell to 5%, down slightly from 5.1% in September.

He comments,

To be fair, Washington’s dismal October numbers were heavily affected by the estimated loss of 9,300 education and other government jobs, a figure that may be lowered as more data comes in.

Somewhat unusually for a state that has typically outperformed the nation,

The weaker hiring makes Washington something of an outlier: nationally, hiring in October surged by 531,000 jobs, or 70% over September’s revised number.

Yet, in one critical dimension, Washington continued to outperform:

It’s not all bad news: Washington posted relatively strong gains in manufacturing, a sector that saw huge losses early in the pandemic. The 6,000 added manufacturing jobs represent around 10% of all manufacturing jobs added nationally, which is more than four times Washington’s share of the U.S. population, Vigdor said.

The recovery remains uneven across sectors and states. And appears likely to remain so for a while.