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Jon Talton

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

September 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Washington’s unemployment in charts

Maybe it was a bump in the road. August’s unemployment report for Washington — stuck at 5.4 percent, the same as July — was preliminary and might be revised for the better. The same might be true for the net loss of 1,500 jobs. After all, July’s jobs gain was revised upward from 7,300 to 10,600. A year ago Washington’s unemployment rate for August was 7 percent.

Still, this is a very slow recovery in the labor market. Unemployment actually increased in 24 states, more than five years after the official end of the Great Recession. Here is a snapshot of Washington’s situation.

1. The official jobless rate is better here than in Oregon or nationally. But it’s not where it should be this far into a recovery:


2. The labor force isn’t growing. This is part of a national phenomenon, partly because of baby boomer retirements but also because of persistent long-term unemployment:


3. Austerity hurts: Loss of government jobs was what dragged down August’s numbers and the private sector sees too little demand to take up the slack.


4. The hangover from the housing bubble continues, even with all the cranes on the Seattle skyline. It especially shows up in faltering construction employment:


5. It is definitely not 1999 — at least in the growth of tech and software employment:




6. Forget the hype about “reshoring manufacturing.” It isn’t translating into sustained growth of well-paying manufacturing jobs:


7. Even though Boeing is booming, aerospace job growth has stalled. It’s a boom-and-bust business, but the job gains that helped through the recession are switching into reverse:


8. Where is the job growth? Heavily concentrated in typically low-paying sectors, such as…


Midweek Reading: The disruption myth | The Atlantic



Today’s Econ Haiku:

Bombing the Mideast

But oil prices are falling

A punch in the glut




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