Lo sentimos. Aún no hemos traducido esta página al español. Avísenos si desea que esto sea una prioridad y traduciremos la página lo antes posible.

We're sorry. We have not yet translated this page into Spanish. Please let us know if you want us to make it a priority and we will work to translate it as soon as possible.

Solicitar traducción Request translation

Gracias, su solicitud ha sido presentada. Thank you, your request has been submitted.


ESD Monthly Employment Report: Unemployment rate drops in November while payroll employment rebounds

OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 12,800 jobs in November. Between October and November, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell 4.7 percent.

“A sizeable jump in household employment this month was mostly responsible for pushing down the state unemployment rate,” said the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) Economist Paul Turek. “Additionally, the increase in payroll employment in November helped offset the disappointing downward revision to October’s numbers.”

The Monthly Employment Report also includes:

  • Preliminary job estimates for November from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Confirmation of the preliminary 5.0 unemployment rate for October.
  • An adjustment to preliminary jobs data for October, with the preliminary estimated gain of 6,300 jobs revised to a loss of 500 jobs. The revised estimate represents a more accurate picture of developments in the job market for October by including additional information that was not available at the time of the previous month’s release.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 51,360 people in November, a decrease of 7,638 over the previous month.

National unemployment rate
The national unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 percent in October to the preliminary rate of 4.2 percent in November. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for November 2020 was 6.7 percent.

State labor force increases while unemployment continues to decrease

The state’s labor force in November was 3,936,700 – an increase of 1,700 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 decreased by 6,900 over the same period. From November 2020 to November 2021, the state’s labor force increased by 93,700 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 11,300.

From October to November, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 198,100 to 184,600. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 86,000 to 76,500 over the same period.

Of the industry sectors, in November:

  • Eight expanded.
  • Five contracted.

Private sector employment increased by 8,100 jobs while government employment increased by 4,700 jobs. Table 2 shows a summary of the job gains and losses in all 13 industry sectors.

Both private, public sector employment rose over the year
Washington gained an estimated 147,200 jobs from November 2020 – November 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 4.6 percent, up an estimated 127,100 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 3.7 percent, up an estimated 20,100 jobs.

From November 2020 – November 2021, 11 major industry sectors expanded, one contracted and one was unchanged
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year over year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Leisure and hospitality up 50,800 jobs.
  • Professional and business services up 21,300 jobs.
  • Government up 20,100 jobs.

The industry sector that contracted year over year, not seasonally adjusted, was retail trade, down 1,600 jobs.

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 2021

Preliminary data for the month of:

State and Seattle Metropolitan Division data released

All other county data released

January 2021

March 16

March 16

February 2021

March 24

March 30

March 2021

April 14

April 20

April 2021

May 19

May 25

May 2021

June 16

June 22

June 2021

July 14

July 20

July 2021

Aug. 18

Aug. 24

August 2021

Sept. 15

Sept. 21

September 2021

Oct. 20

Oct. 26

October 2021

Nov. 17

Nov. 23

November 2021

Dec. 15

Dec. 21

December 2021

Jan. 19, 2022

Jan. 25, 2022

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.com 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 2020. 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 for the third quarter 2020 through the second quarter 2021 was 13.5 percent. This was lower compared to the 15.8 percent U-6 unemployment rate for the second quarter 2020 through the first quarter 2021.

The U.S. U-6 unemployment rate for the third quarter 2020 through the second quarter 2021 was 11.9 percent.

Web links

Find a regional economist