July 16, 2020
Washington’s economy added 71,000 jobs in June and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate dropped to 9.8% in June, down from 15.1% in May, according to the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD). This was the biggest month-to-month drop in the Washington unemployment rate (5.3%) in ESD records going back at least to 1990.
The Puget Sound (Seattle/Bellevue/Everett) metro area’s unemployment rate came in at 9.3%. The highest employment gains from May to June were in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.
“The gain in nonfarm payroll employment coupled with the revision to May’s job gains are a welcome surprise and another step in the right direction,” said ESD economist Paul Turek. “That said, the road ahead looks to be bumpy as the virus continues to spread, creating a less predictable situation for the economy reopening.”
Turek believes improvement will come at a slow and steady pace as the market balances out compared to the wild fluctuations experienced over the past several months.
Leading into the COVID-10 pandemic, Washington was riding a wave of economic expansion and job growth that had driven the state’s unemployment rate down to 3.8% in February. Once the health threat began to take hold, the unemployment rose to a high point of 16.3% in April.
Washington has lost an estimated 312,400 jobs from June 2019 through June 2020.
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