Jobs data for November was released this week, so let’s take an updated look at the Seattle area’s unemployment rate and approximate labor participation rate alongside the national numbers.
In November the Seattle area’s unemployment rate broke a four-month streak of increases, dipping just slightly from 5.7% in October to 5.6% last month. We are still in much better shape than the national job market, which had an unemployment rate of 7.0% in November.
On the flip side, our labor participation rate fell slightly in November, dropping from 69.4% to 69.3%. The national labor force participation rate in November rose 0.2 points to 63.0%.
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%. Our labor force participation rate is still on par with the pre-bust period, but the unemployment rate needs to drop another percent and a half to reach the pre-bust levels. I still expect to see both measures back to early 2006 levels some time next year.
Next week we’ll take a look at job growth in the usual sectors around Seattle.