By Rachel La Corte Associated Press
OLYMPIA — Washington state had an estimated net gain of 9,800 jobs from May to June, while the state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.8 percent, officials with the Employment Security Department said Wednesday.
Since June 2012, when Washington state’s unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, the state has gained about 67,000 jobs. The state’s unemployment rate remains well below the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.
“We have a nice positive trend developing in that there have been increasing gains in hiring over the past three months,” said Paul Turek, a labor economist for Employment Security. “It’s encouraging news to see that hiring is moving forth.”
Private sector hiring was estimated to have increased by 15,700 jobs, while government saw a dip of 5,900 jobs last month. That decrease is a turnaround from an estimated increase of 3,800 jobs gained in May. About 4,200 of the job losses occurred within state government. Sheryl Hutchison, a spokeswoman for the Employment Security Department, said that while there continue to be cuts throughout state government due to budgetary issues, seasonal factors could also exaggerate those numbers.
Patterns in timing of hiring or layoffs could throw off seasonal adjustment factors, which are used by economists to remove or discount normal seasonal changes so that underlying trends are easier to identify. Preliminary estimates of job losses or gains can appear larger or smaller than they really are if those seasonal changes occur earlier or later than expected, officials said.
Manufacturing was the only other sector to see job losses, dropping by about 200 jobs last month.
Industries that saw the largest job gains in June were construction and professional and business services, both up 4,100, leisure and hospitality, up 3,800, and education and health services, which gained 1,600 jobs. Several other sectors also saw some gains, including wholesale trade, up 600 and retail trade, which saw an increase of 500 jobs.
Two different surveys are used to calculate unemployment figures and job losses and gains. The unemployment rate represents the percentage of the labor force that’s unemployed and actively looking for work. People who quit looking for work are not counted. The job gains and losses estimates are based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.
The state has regained more than 172,000 of the 205,000 jobs it lost during the recession. However more than 237,000 people were unemployed and looking for work last month, including more than 114,000 who claimed unemployment benefits.