Washington adds nearly 32,000 jobs in February, largest increase since last July.

As the economy continues to open up, people are showing up to fill the available jobs. That’s one message from the February Employment Report released today by the state Employment Security Department. The report draws on estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From the press release:

Washington’s economy added 31,700 jobs in February. In February, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.3%.

“The February increase in state employment was the largest monthly increase since last July,” said the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) Economist Paul Turek. “The gains were broad-based with just about every major industrial sector having increased its payrolls over the month.”

That’s solid good news in uncertain times. As the chart at the top of this post suggest, the employment recovery gained strength in the last quarter of 2021.

The report contains more. Here’s the year-over-year jobs growth by sector.

Based on a BLS survey of businesses and governments, Washington gained an estimated 191,900 jobs from February 2021 through February 2022.

  • Overall, all thirteen major industries expanded.

  • Private sector employment rose 6.4 percent, up an estimated 172,700 jobs.

  • Public sector employment rose 3.5 percent, up an estimated 19,200 jobs.

  • Employment in leisure and hospitality is up by 72,000, with food services and drinking places adding 52,700 jobs.

  • Professional and business services employment increased by 31,200, with 16,900 jobs added in administrative and support services.

  • Construction employment rose 13,700 overall, with 11,800 jobs added by specialty trade contractors.

  • Employment in retail trade is up 13,300 overall, led by an increase of 5,900 in other retail trade.

  • Information employment increased by 12,700, with 4,300 jobs added by software publishers.

The release summarizes: “Workers show more signs of stepping back into the job market.”

The state’s labor force in February was 3,982,400 – an increase of 22,000 people from the previous month. Labor force is defined as the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 10,500 over the same period. From February 2021 to February 2022, the state’s labor force increased by 111,300 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 43,000.

In all, a good trend.