Seattle Employment Running on All Cylinders

Seattle Employment Running on All Cylinders

Let’s have a look at the jobs data for November and how the Seattle area’s unemployment rate and approximate labor participation rate alongside the national numbers.

Unemployment & Labor Participation

Since dropping below 5 percent in June, the Seattle area’s unemployment rate has been relatively steady at 4.7-4.8 percent. November’s 4.7 percent unemployment rate wasthe same level unemployment was at in August 2008. The national unemployment rate is still a bit higher at 5.8 percent, roughly on-par with mid-2008.

The Seattle-area labor participation continues to hold steady around 70 percent, the same level it’s been at for almost all of 2014. November’s level was 70.1 percent. The national labor force participation rate has also been relatively stable, but quite a bit lower, coming in at 62.8 percent for November. Since 2011 the Seattle-area labor participation rate has held relatively steady, while the national level has fallen about a point.

For reference, in 2006 when everyone imagined the economy to be in great health, the local unemployment rate averaged 4.3% and the labor participation rate averaged 69.5%. In other words, in terms of employment, the Seattle area economy is in great shape.

Here’s a look at the local and national unemployment rates with Washington’s statewide rate thrown in as well.

Seattle-Area Unemployment Rate

Washington State has slipped over the last few months, and is now performing worse than the nation as a whole.


Seasonally adjusted series used for all data sets.


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