OLYMPIA – December’s labor statistics from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics once again produced conflicting data about what’s happening in Washington’s economy.
According to the bureau’s monthly survey of Washington households, the estimated unemployment rate dropped from 8.7 percent in November to 8.5 percent in December. This was the lowest since February 2009, when the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent.
At the same time, a survey of Washington businesses showed an estimated job loss of 10,700 from November to December.
“There is a lot of volatility in the numbers we get from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and one month of numbers isn’t enough to gauge what’s happening in the job market,” said Greg Weeks, who heads the labor-market information office at the state Employment Security Department. “If you look at the trend over time, jobs are gradually increasing and the unemployment rate is coming down.”
Industry sectors that had the most job growth in December were education and health services, up an estimated 2,200 jobs; manufacturing, up 2,100, including 1,100 in aerospace; and the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector, up 500 jobs.