Washington gained 17,600 jobs in September.

The September employment report from the state Employment Security Department showed Washington added jobs last month, albeit more slowly than employers would like. 

On a seasonally adjusted basis, preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate nonfarm employment in Washington rose by 17,600 in September 2021.1 BLS estimates the private sector gained 18,100 jobs during the month and the public sector lost 500 jobs.

On a not seasonally adjusted basis, estimates for September 2020 through September 2021 indicate an increase in employment of 167,200 for the state. The private sector gained 159,200 jobs while the public sector gained an estimated 8,000 jobs over the year.

Washington’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September 2021 is 4.9 percent. The revised estimated August 2021 unemployment rate is at 5.1 percent. The September 2020 unemployment rate was 8.0 percent.

In this context, adding is better than subtracting, so the jobs adds are good. Though, as Paul Roberts reports in The Seattle Times, this isn’t much of a gain.

Washington saw only a modest rise in hiring in September as the surging delta variant slowed the recovery from the pandemic, but the state is still doing better in filling jobs than is the nation as a whole.

The usual culprit takes the blame.

September’s modest increase likely reflects in part the surge in COVID cases that month, said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, an ESD regional economist who covers the Seattle area.

“We’re still growing, but it’s slower than what we were seeing prior to the current wave of COVID,” Vance-Sherman said.

And the labor shortage continues.