OLYMPIA – Washington's economy flowered with increased hiring and fewer unemployed workers in April, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates by economists with the state's Employment Security Department.
Employers in Washington added an estimated 7,700 jobs in April. That followed a March job-growth estimate that economists revised upward to 8,300. So far this year, employers have added an average of 6,900 jobs each month, said Paul Turek, an Employment Security labor economist.
Also in April, the state's unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent, down from 6.3 percent in March.
"We're moving into an expansionary phase," Turek said. "There were more jobs available, and more people got jobs. It's a positive trend."
Between March and April, the number of unemployed job seekers looking for work in Washington dropped by 9,000, to 210,600. That includes 82,825 who claimed unemployment benefits. At the same time, the state labor force of nearly 3.5 million increased by about 5,000 workers, seasonally adjusted.
During the one-year period ending in April, Employment Security estimates that 77,600 jobs (not seasonally adjusted) were added statewide.
Across most economic sectors in April, job growth exceeded job losses. Exceptions were in government, manufacturing and financial activities, which together lost a total of 1,400 jobs. Also, the mining and logging sector registered no change in total employment in April.
As in March, the biggest job increases occurred in professional and business services, which in April added an estimated 2,000 jobs. Of those, 1,200 were in administrative and support services. The remaining 800 positions were in professional, scientific and technical work.
Retailers added 1,400 jobs in April, with 600 of those positions occurring in clothing and accessories. The catch-all category of other services – from photography studios to auto-body shops – added 1,300 jobs. The number of construction jobs rose by 1,200, and jobs in private education and health services grew by the same number. Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 700; wholesale trade, by 500; transportation, warehousing and utilities, by 500; and information, by 300.