The job trends across the state matched what is happening across the country in the last few months.
The unemployment rate for Washington was virtually unchanged in April, while the Seattle area continued to slowly add back jobs it lost at the end of last year, according to new statistics released by the state on Wednesday.
Washington state had a 5.8 percent unemployment rate in April, the same as the previous four months but higher than its post-recession low of 5.6 percent a year prior, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Employment Security Department. The statewide labor force continues to expand — now up 100,000 people in the last year — bringing with it more jobs and more people on the unemployment line.
The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metro area saw a slight improvement, with the jobless rate dropping from 4.9 percent in March to 4.8 percent in April — the third straight month it’s gone down by a similar increment.
“It looks like it’s going to continue to bump down,” said state labor economist Paul Turek, adding that the economic recovery is “more mature in the Seattle area than in places that tend to be a little bit more on the outskirts, or in rural areas.”
Still, Seattle-area unemployment remains above the 4.4 percent rate from April 2015, a post-recession low that had held steady for the first half of last year.
Of the 11,200 jobs gained across the state in the past month, the leading sectors were professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality, while financial activities and construction lost a small number of jobs.
The state’s unemployment rate has been nearly cut in half from the 10.3 percent rate it reached when the recession’s employment turmoil peaked in 2010. The local job picture had been steadily improving over the last half decade but has leveled off or gotten slightly worse for much of the past year.
The trends are similar across the country — the nationwide unemployment rate was 5 percent in both April and March. But unlike Washington, the U.S. rate has dropped in the past year, from 5.4 percent a year ago.
Washington had the ninth-worst unemployment rate among states and the District of Columbia in March, the most recent data available.