Washington gained 24,500 jobs in February, saw unemployment rate decrease to 5.6%.

Washington added jobs in February, another indication of a slowly strengthening state economy. The headline numbers from the Employment Security Department’s Monthly Employment Report for February

On a seasonally adjusted basis, preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate nonfarm employment in Washington rose by 24,500 in February 2021.1 BLS estimates the private sector gained 23,600 jobs during the month and the public sector gained 900 jobs.

Washington’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2021 is 5.6 percent. The revised estimated January 2021 unemployment rate is at 6.0 percent. The February 2020 unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

The U.S. employment rate is 6.2%.

The ESD notes gains were widespread and strongest in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality sector.

“The easing of restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 is helping those in leisure and hospitality regain jobs,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “But hiring was also widespread across other industries, and the unemployment rate moved down accordingly.”