Washington state economy adds nearly 20,000 jobs in August; unemployment rate falls to 8.5% from 10.2%

The state Employment Security Department released the monthly employment report for August today. Things are moving in the right direction, albeit slower than any of us would like.

Washington’s economy added 19,800 jobs in August and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for August decreased from 10.2 percent (adjusted) to 8.5 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

Government employment amounted for most of the increase.

Private sector employment increased by 6,700 jobs while government employment increased by 13,100 jobs.

The department notes a slowdown in hiring and a decline in the statewide labor force.

“The swings in payroll employment have been sizeable since March,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Although the jobs market continues to heal, August marks a slowdown from the initial hiring rebound from reopening.” 

…The state’s labor force in August was 3,955,100 – a decrease of 6,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 6,300 over the same period.

From August 2019 through August 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 24,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 9,900.

The following ESD table shows how employment has swung during the pandemic.

Again: right direction, too slow.