3/8/2010

10-012

Media contact: Jamie Swift, Communications Manager, 360-902-0904

OLYMPIA – On the heels of the first month of positive job numbers in more than a year, a new job-vacancy report provides further evidence that Washington’s economic outlook may be brightening. 

Job openings fell an estimated 2 percent between spring 2009 and fall 2009, according to Employment Security’s Fall 2009 Washington Job-Vacancy Survey. 

At first glance, not great news. But consider what happened during the same span in 2008: job vacancies dropped by 32 percent. 

“Two percent is a very small drop, especially compared to last year, and possibly an indicator of job growth on the horizon,” said Dave Wallace, chief economist for Employment Security. 

According to the survey, job vacancies last fall were highest in the metropolitan areas of King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties. In terms of industries, vacancies were highest in health care, retail, professional and technical services, and accommodation.

The survey is done twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. More than 18,500 Washington employers were surveyed last fall about their job vacancies for the latest report. The survey indicated Washington companies had an estimated 32,037 openings, compared to 32,635 openings in spring 2009, and 50,593 openings in fall 2008.  

The health-care sector added 1,271 vacancies between the spring and fall surveys, continuing to lead all industries in vacancies. 

An estimated 43 percent of all openings were in King County, 9 percent in Pierce County and 7 percent in Snohomish County. About 6 percent of the vacancies were in Spokane County, while another 6 percent were located in Southwest Washington. 

The survey also illustrated the value of education. The median wage rises with each increase in the level of education, peaking at $29.57 per hour for openings requiring a graduate degree.

The largest number of unfilled jobs were positions requiring a bachelor’s degree, which accounted for 27 percent of vacancies. Jobs that require no education or only a high school diploma comprised 46 percent of all vacancies. 

Jobs that had no educational requirements had a median wage of $11.71 per hour, while openings requiring only a high school diploma paid $17.08 per hour.

The report also indicates that smaller firms are more likely than large firms to have vacancies, and that the highest wages are found in Washington’s medium-sized firms (50 to 99 workers).

The full report is available online at http://www.workforceexplorer.com/admin/uploadedPublications/10229_JVSOct_09Rep.pdf#zoom=100.

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Broadcast version

There are job openings out there, and a new report by the Washington State Employment Security Department provides some information about where to find them. 

In a survey taken last fall, the majority of job openings were available in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties.

And they fell primarily in the areas of health care, retail, professional-and-technical services, and accommodation.

Vacancies declined by more than one-third between fall 2008 and fall 2009, but Employment Security economists see a degree of good news in the numbers. That’s because vacancies decreased only two percent between the spring 2009 and fall 2009 surveys. 

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