Jobs data for October was released yesterday, so I thought I’d post a chart I’ve been working on that shows the Seattle area’s unemployment rate and approximate labor participation rate alongside the national numbers.
As of October, the Seattle area’s unemployment rate has been on a four-month uptick, increasing from 4.7% in May and June to 5.7% last month. That is still quite a bit lower than the national unemployment rate of 7.3%.
Our labor participation rate has fallen over the last few months, but at 69.3% it is also quite a bit better than the the national level of 62.8%.
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%. Our labor force participation rate is basically at par with the pre-bust period, but the unemployment rate has not quite fully recovered. I would not be at all suprised to see both measures on par with 2006 by early next year.