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Media contacts: Dave Wallace, acting chief economist, 360-438-4818
                           Jamie Swift, communications manager, 360-902-0904

OLYMPIA – Washington’s recession-ravaged job market is on the road to recovery, according to the Employment Security Department’s fall 2010 job-vacancy survey released today. 

Job openings were up 31 percent last fall compared to a year earlier, growing to an estimated 41,889 vacant positions.

Employment Security conducts the job-vacancy survey twice a year, in the spring and fall. Estimated openings increased by 8 percent between the spring 2010 and fall 2010 surveys.

“The increase in job openings is a sign that employers are gaining confidence, and that’s good for our economic recovery,” said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause.

Two Washington employers agreed that the economic tide is turning. 

“We’re starting to pick back up again. We’re noticing growth among some of our customers, and they’re demanding more services from us,” said John Wright, president of Zip Truck Lines, Inc. (Moses Lake) and American Container Transport, Inc. (Ellensburg).

Jill Hansell, managing partner of Seattle-based staffing firm Hansell Tierney, said, “Since January, we’re definitely seeing an increase in companies that need people. Our clients are feeling more optimistic, and I feel we’re definitely taking a positive step. But it’s still cautious.” 

Zip Truck Lines reported three vacancies last fall, and Hansell Tierney reported eight vacancies.

Openings are still fewer than half of what they were before the start of the recession. Vacancies hit an all-time high in fall 2006, with nearly 91,000 open positions. That number dropped rapidly the ensuing three years, hitting a low point of 32,037 vacancies in fall 2009.

Highlights from Employment Security’s Fall 2010 Job-Vacancy Survey

  • Most of the growth in job openings was at smaller firms. Between fall 2009 and 2010, vacancies increased 6,800 at firms with nine or fewer employees. Firms with 10 or more employees added about 3,000 vacancies.
  • Registered nurses, which had the most openings in the past two surveys, fell to fourth place behind retail salespeople, teacher’s assistants and cashiers.
  • Nearly 14 percent of vacancies were newly created positions, compared to just 4 percent in the fall 2009 survey.
  • 51 percent of open jobs required a high school diploma or had no educational requirement.
  • 95 percent of open jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree also required previous work experience.
  • 95 percent of open jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree also required previous work experience.


REPORTERS: Are you looking for a local angle?

The job-vacancy report includes local breakouts of job vacancies.

WorkSource representatives also are available to talk about local hiring trends and what’s being done to help the unemployed get back to work. WorkSource is a partnership of Employment Security and other state, local and nonprofit agencies that offer employment services for job seekers and businesses.  Contact Rick Van Cise, 360-902-9454, to make arrangements.

Broadcast version

Washington’s job market is recovering, according to a report released today by the state Employment Security Department.

Job openings increased thirty-one percent between fall 2009 and fall 2010.

Altogether, the department found an estimated forty-two-thousand job openings – the largest number since 2008.