Washington state's unemployment rate crept up to 5.5 percent in June from 5.3 percent in May as more people looked for work.
Employment conditions slid down another rung in Washington last month, with the state reporting a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent, matching the national figure.
June’s seasonally adjusted rate, a full percentage point above the figure one year before, is the highest since October 2005. The Seattle-area rate was much lower, 3.9 percent in June, down from 4 percent in May and slightly above 3.8 percent a year ago.
Unemployment rates in King and Snohomish counties, which are not seasonally adjusted, held steady May to June at 3.9 and 4.5 percent respectively, but slipping from 3.7 and 4.0 percent, respectively, a year ago.
Pierce County took a harder hit, with the unadjusted rate jumping to 6.5 percent from 5.7 percent in May. The jobless rate in Kitsap County climbed to 6 percent last month from 5.2 percent in May.
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The job losses were led by cutbacks in the construction sector, which shed 900 jobs last month, shrinking 4.5 percent compared to a year ago and about 1 percent compared to May. The financial sector cut 700 jobs, and government lost 400.
Other industries posted modest growth: Manufacturing added 700 jobs — 600 of them in aerospace — and leisure and hospitality gained 600 jobs.
Overall, the net number of nonfarm jobs statewide was unchanged between May and June. So the state Employment Security Department attributed the slight swell in the unemployment rate to more people searching for work.
Those new job-seekers could be recent college graduates, recent arrivals to the area labor market, or other people entering the labor force and looking for jobs, according to the department’s spokeswoman Caitlin Cormier.
The state’s chief economist, David Wallace, said the latest figures ride out a trajectory toward an economic slowdown that he expects to continue through the rest of the year.
Total nonfarm jobs in Washington grew 1.1 percent in June over one year earlier, compared to 0.01 percent year-over-year job growth nationally.
Isaac Arnsdorf: 206-464-2397 or email@example.com