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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

May 18, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Finally, some momentum on Washington state job creation

Today’s report that the state added 5,800 jobs in April, with the unemployment rate falling from 9.2 to 9.1 percent, is finally a sign that Washington is gaining momentum in digging out of the Great Recession. In March, the gain was only 1,100 jobs; in February, 800. This can be called a positive trend, one to watch.

Since last April, Washington has created 41,500 net new jobs. Still, nearly 308,000 people were “officially” unemployed. The pace of recovery in the labor market remains glacial. Oregon added only 1,600 jobs in April (but better than the state’s 2,000 jobs lost in March). These are plainly not levels of job creation that can turn around the unemployment crisis anytime soon — they have trouble even keeping up with the organic growth of the labor force. Unemployment is a major driver of slow state revenues.

The anecdotal evidence is encouraging: Amazon hiring big; Boeing adding 1,200 jobs for the 737 in Renton, port traffic rebounding, and some public works moving ahead (construction jobs led the April rebound).

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Jamie is sorry

Foreclosure paperwork mess

He’s still got his house

Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment

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