Let’s have a look at the jobs data for February and how the Seattle area’s unemployment rate and approximate labor participation rate alongside the national numbers.
In February the Seattle area’s unemployment rate hit its lowest level since September 2008 at 5.1%. The national unemployment rate is still a bit higher at 6.7%, also roughly on-par with late 2008 levels.
The Seattle-area labor participation inched up in February to 70.0%. The national labor force participation rate was steady at 63.0%. 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%.
Here’s a look at the local and national unemployment rates with Washington’s statewide rate thrown in as well.
Washington as a whole is trending much more closely to the national levels.
Next week we’ll look at how specific job sectors are performing in the Seattle area.