The state unemployment rate continued to drop in November, maintaining a trajectory that began in August after eight months in which the rate refused to budge.
Last month’s drop — to 5.3 percent — marked the lowest rate the state has seen since 2008, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted figures released Wednesday by the state Employment Security Department. That was down from 5.4 percent in October, and from 5.7 percent in November 2015.
The Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area, too, saw its lowest jobless rate in eight years: 3.7 percent in November, down from 3.8 percent in October and from 4.8 percent in November 2015.
“Washington’s economy is moving into the end of the year with good forward momentum,” Paul Turek, state labor economist, said in a news release.
Most Read Business Stories
- Boeing wants more workers in the office to ramp up production. Not everyone wants to go back
- What you must know to ‘grin and bear’ this market
- Microsoft says employees will continue to have access to abortion and gender-affirming care anywhere in the U.S.
- How many writes can a solid-state hard drive take; can 'dead zones' on Windows 11 be fixed | Q&A with Patrick Marshall
- North Dakota farmland purchase tied to Bill Gates stirs emotion
But he expects the downward move to slow, saying, “I don’t think it has too much farther to go.”
The interest-rate hike enacted by the Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday will likely “cool the economy down a little bit,” leading to a possible leveling off in hiring, Turek said.
Meanwhile, the number of unemployed people statewide dropped by 4,600 in November.
The state’s labor force, which includes both those who are working and those looking for work, grew by 14,900 during the month to reach 3.69 million people.
Much of that was in the Seattle area, where the labor force grew by 10,400.
“Seattle is the area that’s the hot spot for the state,” fueling a lot of the jobs growth and drawing people attracted by the employment opportunities, said Turek.
At the same time, “we’re seeing job growth throughout the rest of the state,” he said. “It’s not as robust as the Seattle area and most of Puget Sound. It’s a little slower but still positive.”
Statewide, the number of jobs grew too, with 3,600 jobs added last month, most of them in education and health services; construction; and professional and business services.
The leisure and hospitality, retail trade and public-service sectors lost the most jobs.
October’s preliminary estimated gain of 10,600 jobs was revised downward to a gain of 9,500 jobs.
Despite the recent drops in the statewide unemployment rate, it still lags behind the national jobless figure, which was 4.6 percent in November, down from 4.9 percent in October and 5 percent in November 2015.