State unemployment rate unchanged at 4.6%; county rates range from 2.9% to 10.2%

Washington’s statewide unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.6 percent, the Associated Press reports.

According to numbers released Wednesday by the Employment Security Department, May’s rate had been revised down from the originally reported 4.7 percent. The state also added 6,000 jobs in June, with the largest job gains seen in education and health services, information and manufacturing.

As we did last month, we wanted to take a look at county unemployment rates. The ESC map below shows the May unemployment rates by county (June data at the county level are not yet available).

Again we see the very low unemployment rates in the major metro areas of King (2.9 percent) and Snohomish (3.1 percent), and the higher unemployment areas in low population rural Washington. Ferry County’s 10.1 percent is the state’s highest. Low unemployment in high population counties clearly drives the statewide number.

The pattern persists nationally, as Bill Bishop writes at the Daily Yonder.

Jobs continue to cluster in the nation’s largest cities, according to the latest federal employment figures. While rural America gained jobs in the last year, the pace of growth was just a fraction of what was seen in urban counties.

The country gained just over 1.5 million jobs between May 2018 and May of this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Six out of 10 of those new jobs were created in the country’s largest cities, urban areas of a million or more people.

Rural America, meanwhile, gained 85,000 jobs, or 5.5 percent of the total increase.

The interactive map accompanying Bishop’s story gives county data across the country. Here’s a snapshot.

Washington has fewer patches of red (nonmetro counties that have lost jobs) than many other states, but clearly, the work to expand economic opportunity and prosperity through the state is far from complete.