Washington December employment report shows first monthly job loss since May; down 9,900 jobs. Hospitality hardest hit.

Washington lost 9,900 jobs in December, the first monthly decline since May 2020, according to the Employment Security Department’s December employment report. The table below shows the monthly gains and losses, along with the unemployment rate for the current and prior year.

The bleak December figures reflect the reimposition of business restrictions during the COVID-19 resurgence.

“The renewed efforts taken to contain the spread of COVID deeply impacted industries that provide high-contact services,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Nowhere is that more apparent than in leisure and hospitality. Beyond that, employment in other industries is mostly holding up better.”

The year-over-year figures trace the uneven impact of the COVID recession.

Washington lost an estimated 189,300 jobs from December 2019 through December 2020, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment fell by 5.0 percent, down an estimated 147,100 jobs, while public sector employment fell by 7.1 percent with a net loss of 41,900 jobs.

From December 2019 through December 2020, eight major industry sectors contracted while five industry sectors expanded.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Leisure and hospitality down 97,900 jobs
  • Government down 41,900 jobs
  • Manufacturing down 26,700 jobs

Accelerated distribution of the vaccines will help in time, but the December numbers are a clear reminder of the ongoing toll the pandemic has imposed on the state economy.