Despite Job Gains, Washington Jobless Rate Not Budging

May 18, 2016

The statewide unemployment rate in Washington is not budging despite steady hiring by employers. It's stuck at 5.8 percent in the latest monthly jobs report released Wednesday by the Washington Employment Security Department.

State labor economist Paul Turek said the April number is the fifth month in a row to come in at 5.8 percent.

"Right now, (economic) fundamentals look good,” Turek said. “As long as there is continued job growth, which I think is on the horizon, we should start to see a little more downward pressure on the unemployment rate."

Companies in neighboring Oregon and Idaho are also creating jobs at a steady pace. But there the unemployment rates are responding by moving down. Tuesday, Oregon's updated jobless rate came in at 4.5 percent, more than a point lower than Washington's. Idaho reports new numbers on Friday. The most recent unemployment rate for the Gem State was 3.8 percent.

The national unemployment rate is 5.0 percent.

Washington state added an estimated 11,200 jobs from March to April on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the new employment report. Oregon, which has slightly more than half of the population of Washington, added more than 5,000 jobs during the same period.

Since April 2015, job growth has been especially strong in construction, health care, and professional and business services.