State jobless rates fell in April to 7 percent, down from 7.3 percent, bringing the state rate to its lowest since December 2008. Overall the state remains 45,500 jobs shy of the peak hit before the recession began in February that year, according to Scott Bailey, regional economist for the state Employment Security Department.
The department’s monthly jobs report is here.
The Great Recession that began in February 2008 wiped out 205,600 jobs across the state, and the economy has regained more than three-quarters of that.
“Our April preliminary estimate was 2,933,500 (total jobs), which means we’ve made up 160,100, or 78 percent, of the job loss. We’ve got 45,500 to go,” Bailey said in an email.
County jobless rates are due next week on May 21. As this map shows, data for March put the seasonably adjusted jobless rate at 7.9 percent in Thurston County, 9.1 percent in Pierce and 10.9 percent in Mason. King County, the state’s biggest job driver, had a rate of 5.1 percent. But nine of 10 counties in Southwest Washington or on the Olympic Peninsula had rates above 10 percent.
The improving jobs outlook could factor in to next month’s state revenue forecast, which tries to gauge the level of economic activity on which the state’s sales-tax-dependent revenue system must depend. That forecast, in turn, helps set the Legislature’s parameters for spending. Revenues over the last month came in above the March quarterly forecast.