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Contact:   media@esd.wa.gov    

State payroll employment growth strong in November

OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained an estimated 13,100 jobs (seasonally adjusted) in November. Job growth was highest in the following industries: Education and health services, professional and business services, government, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and information.

Washington’s monthly unemployment rate rose from 3.8% to 4.0% in November.

"Despite the uptick in the unemployment rate, unemployment is low by historical standards,” said the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) State Economist Paul Turek. "And while companies may be taking a more cautious approach to hiring, the number of new jobs added in November indicates that we are still in a favorable environment for job seekers.”

Visit ESD’s website to view the entire Monthly Employment Report for November.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 42,770 people in November, an increase of 8,157 paid claims over the previous month. Typical seasonal increases in paid claims within agriculture and construction contributed to the overall increase in paid claims over the month.

National unemployment rate
The national unemployment rate remained constant from October to November at a preliminary rate of 3.7%. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for November 2021 was 4.2%.

Updated preliminary data for October 2022

  • The preliminary estimated gain of 5,400 jobs for October 2022 was revised upwards to a gain of 6,000 jobs.
  • The seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate was 3.8%.

Labor force numbers continue to struggle

The state’s labor force in November numbered 4,003,400 – a decrease of 4,400 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 4,400 over the same period.

Childcare issues, aging workforce, retirements and shifted work preferences are all contributing factors to a decrease in the labor force.

From November 2021 to November 2022, the state’s labor force increased by 57,200, while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 45,500.

From October to November, the number of people who were unemployed statewide increased from 153,500 to 161,100. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed increased from 49,300 to 51,600 over the same period.

Of the industry sectors, in November:

  • Nine expanded
  • Two contracted
  • Two were unchanged

Private sector employment increased by 11,000 jobs while government employment increased by 2,100 jobs. The private sector and public schools have regained positions lost during the pandemic. However, state and local government jobs have been slower to rebound, with government down 18,600 jobs since February of 2020. This is likely attributable to pandemic-related service reductions and recruiting challenges. Table 2 shows a summary of the job gains and losses in all 13 industry sectors.

Leisure and hospitality industry employment has been coming back

Washington gained an estimated 130,900 jobs from November 2021 – November 2022, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 4.1%, up an estimated 118,700 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 2.2%, up an estimated 12,200 jobs.

From November – November 2022, eleven major industry sectors expanded and two contracted

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

  • Leisure and hospitality, up 28,100 jobs.
  • Professional and business services, up 25,300 jobs.
  • Education and health services, up 22,200 jobs.

Table 1: Washington’s total jobs

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

Table 2: Job gains and losses by industry

Learn more about ESD’s monthly employment reports.

Every month, the Employment Security Department publishes preliminary seasonally adjusted estimates for the prior month’s job growth and unemployment. We also publish confirmed data for the month before last. See the entire Monthly Employment Report.

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

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 U-6 unemployment rate for the four-quarter period from fourth quarter 2021 through third quarter 2022 for Washington state was 7.7 percent. This was lower compared to the 8.1 percent U-6 unemployment rate for the third quarter 2021 through second quarter 2022 period.

The U.S. U-6 unemployment rate for the four-quarter period from fourth quarter 2021 through third quarter 2022 was 7.1 percent.

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