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Contact:   media@esd.wa.gov    

ESD Monthly Employment Report: Payroll employment continues growth streak; unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1%

OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 12,300 jobs in April.

“Employers are continuing to hire at an impressively strong pace,” said the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) Economist Paul Turek. “The current pace of job growth is surprising given how tight the labor market is.”

Also in April, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate was 4.1%.

The Monthly Employment Report also includes:

  • Preliminary job estimates for April from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The preliminary estimated 4.2% unemployment rate for March was revised to 4.1%.
  • An adjustment to preliminary jobs data for March, with the estimated gain of 8,800 jobs revised upward to a gain of 9,000 jobs. The revised estimate represents a more accurate picture of developments in the job market for March by including additional information that was not available at the time of the previous month’s release.

ESD paid unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to 44,421 people in April, a decrease of 10,157 over the previous month. The decrease in paid UI benefits occurred primarily in the agriculture, construction, and health care & social assistance industry sectors.

National unemployment rate
The national unemployment rate remained constant in April at the preliminary rate of 3.6%. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for April 2021 was 6.0%.

Labor supply increases in April

The state’s labor force in April was 4,023,600 – an increase of 20,600 people from the previous month. Labor force is defined as the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 11,900 over the same period. From April 2021 to April 2022, the state’s labor force increased by 136,800 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 58,900.

From March to April, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 165,800 to 163,300. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 54,700 to 51,700 over the same period.

Of the industry sectors, in April:

  • Nine expanded.
  • Four contracted.

Private sector employment increased by 12,800 jobs while government employment decreased by 500 jobs. Table 2 shows a summary of the job gains and losses in all 13 industry sectors.

Annual payrolls expand for most industries

Washington gained an estimated 186,800 jobs from April 2021 – April 2022, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 6.6%, up an estimated 180,700 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 1.1%, up an estimated 6,100 jobs.

From April 2021 – April 2022, twelve major industry sectors expanded and one contracted

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year over year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Leisure and hospitality, up 57,600 jobs.
  • Professional and business services, up 40,200 jobs.
  • Education and health services, up 18,100 jobs.

Mining and logging was the one industry sector that contracted, losing 300 jobs from April 2021 – April 2022.

Table 1: Washington’s total jobs

*Revised from previous preliminary estimates. Preliminary monthly estimates for jobs losses or gains are based on a small Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll survey while actual figures reported the following month are based on a more complete survey.        

Table 2: Job gains and losses by industry

Monthly Employment Report publication schedule for 2022

Preliminary data for the month of:

State and Seattle Metropolitan Division data released

All other county data released

January 2022

March 2

March 8

February 2022

March 16

March 22

March 2022

April 13

April 19

April 2022

May 18

May 24

May 2022

June 15

June 22

June 2022

July 20

July 26

July 2022

Aug. 17

Aug. 23

August 2022

Sept. 14

Sept. 20

September 2022

Oct. 19

Oct. 25

October 2022

Nov. 16

Nov. 22

November 2022

Dec. 14

Dec. 20

December 2022

Jan. 18, 2023

Jan. 24, 2023

Labor market information

See more labor market information and tools, including interactive Tableau graphics, to highlight popular information and data.


Employment Security is a proud partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which provides employment and training assistance to job seekers and businesses. WorkSourceWA provides access to thousands of Washington jobs and other employment resources. WorkSource staff can connect job seekers with employers hiring right now in their community, identify training opportunities or help them brush up on application and interview skills. Job seekers and employers can find their nearest WorkSource center on the WorkSource office locator page.

U-6 unemployment rate

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization” for states to include annual averages for 2021. One such alternative measure is the U-6 rate, which considers not only the unemployed population in the official “U-3” unemployment rate, but also marginally attached workers and those employed part time for economic reasons. The U-6 rate is defined by BLS as the “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.” This U-6 measure measures the “unemployed, underemployed, and those who are not looking but who want a job.”

The Washington state U-6 unemployment rate from the second quarter 2021 through the first quarter 2022 was 9.1%. This was lower compared to the 10.1% U-6 unemployment rate for the annual 2021 period.

The U.S. U-6 unemployment rate from the second quarter 2021 through the first quarter 2022 was 8.4%.

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