News Brief: Local Unemployment Rate Resumes Climb

Just a quick update on the unemployment rate. According to data from the Washington State Employment Security Department, both statewide and King County unemployment have resumed their rise, pushing close to double-digits:

Unemployment Rate

After dropping from 7.9% to 7.0% from March to April, King County’s unemployment rate shot up a full point to (barely) reach a new high of 8.0% in May.

Here’s a look at King, Pierce, and Snohomish:

Unemployment Rate

Pierce has been above 10% for three months running now.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Scotsman says:

    So what’s the explanation for the weird little dip?

  2. 2
    singliac says:

    All I know is I need to stop looking at blogs if I don’t want to become one of these statistics. Stupid addictive blogs!

  3. 3


    I don’t remember home prices going down from 2001-2003 much; but today’s “recession/depression/stagflation or whatever the Hades you call it” is because home prices and the banks’ ability to keep up with uncontrolled growth collapsed. The solution is obvious: we need a direction that’s the same as what got us in trouble in the first place, more uncontrolled debt/growth….LOL

    I see the 2009 COLA to date is -3.2%. Yes Sniglet it’s deflation, like the Great Depression. It’s what Scotsman predicted too. It’s not a guess anymore, it’s reality.

    News article in part:

    “….As of today, the amount of an increase that federal retirees will receive is: 0%. Inflation is much less this year and the consumer price index used to calculate the retiree COLA shows a decline in the inflation rate so far in 2009. That could change but as of today the COLA figure stands at -3.2%….”

    The rest of the URL:

  4. 4
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 3 – I don’t think anyone thought the 911 recession (which started before then) was anything compared to today.

    Do your COLA numbers include energy? We’re still at relatively low prices compared to last year at this time. Off the top of my head I’m not sure about from January.

  5. 5
    mr.finviz says:

    Not sure how much difference does it have but I can see *a lot* of Microsoft employees on temp work permits i.e. H1B/L1 etc holding off on buying a home – specially after the layoff scare. As I am working here I know the Microsoft layoffs are not done yet. I don’t see that unemployment rate coming down anytime soon.

  6. 6
    Ray Pepper says:

    Cramer says the bottom is here Tim. Hurry up and buy something so I get my free meal at Claim Jumper!!

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Scotsman says:

    RE: The Tim @ 7

    Just ask the “Answer Man!” I am envious.

  9. 9
    WestSideBilly says:

    What an ironic name for a government branch.

    I’m also curious as to the rather significant dip in April.

  10. 10
    Mama says:

    By mr.finviz @ 5:

    Not sure how much difference does it have but I can see *a lot* of Microsoft employees on temp work permits i.e. H1B/L1 etc holding off on buying a home – specially after the layoff scare. As I am working here I know the Microsoft layoffs are not done yet. I don’t see that unemployment rate coming down anytime soon.

    wait — why would you wait if you’re an h1b? If you get canned you have to leave the country anyway…what are they gonna do — foreclose on you and hurt your credit score? Ohhhh, scary! That was the scariest thing to me in the Seattle market honestly — the number of folks with alternative citizenship in the area. Why a lender would lend to someone who’s not stuck in the US I don’ t know, but I say if they do, go for it…just don’t put a ton of $$$ down.

  11. 11
    george says:

    You need a growing economy to have unemployment go down. Our economy has shrunk by almost 6% the last two quarters. The old economy is fracturing; centralized planning and manufaturing supporting consumer consumption is coming to an end. While we are trying to soften the fall we are doing nothing to encourage individual innovation and redployment of of a highly trained and capable work force. I have seen building companies fold up and collapse. and very superb talent have no place to go and no hope of having a place to go.

    It will be individual innovation, creatvity and collaboration that get us out of this one. Top down management in both the public and private areas do not have a clue. It will take a grass roots movement of new product development and local small scale manufacturing on highly innovative and technically superior products to move things ahead.

  12. 12
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: The Tim @ 7

    okok..Cramer predictions obviously don’t stand as “iron clad”

  13. 13
    Jonness says:

    By Scotsman @ 1:

    So what’s the explanation for the weird little dip?

    The figures are NSA, and the dip you see occurs every year. SA figures are what is typically reported in the media, and provide a smoother graph:

    WA SA:
    2009 Jan 7·8
    2009 Feb 8·3
    2009 Mar 9·1
    2009 Apr 9·1
    2009 May 9.4

    WA NSA:
    2009 Jan 8.6
    2009 Feb 9.1
    2009 Mar 9·6
    2009 Apr 9·0
    2009 May ?

  14. 14
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 6

    I was intriqued by the housing start and permit application data this morning. Industrial out put is down, inflation is down, and the dollar is gaining strength.

    Let’s just pretend that the housing sector is taking advantage of the unemployment numbers. They can put skilled people to work for lower wages.

    As a matter of fact skilled labor is available everywhere today. When you talk about absorbtion rates where will the job bases be in the next five years?

    Now here’s another point of fact; people will move to job centers. If they own a home, and need to move to even get a job, what happens to the house?

  15. 15
    Scotsman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 14

    ” If they own a home, and need to move to even get a job, what happens to the house? ”

    One word: Detroit.

  16. 16
    Plastic Bags says:

    As someone who found a job in April, I’ll offer my perspective. The federal government did a lot of hiring here in WA. I know a few hundred people were hired into my agency and have heard of hiring occurring for border patrol and a little bit for the census (though those are seasonal and the bulk of that hiring will happen early next year.) This is just picked up in conversation, so I can’t offer any real numbers, but I can say Uncle Sam was majorly hiring here in April. Was it enough to contribute to a dip? I have no idea.

  17. 17

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    HI KARY:

    I believe the COLA/UNEMPLOYMENT/GDP statistics are all a complete joke, and so do most people with common sense or a good economic history book to track when they made the numbers all fairy tales.

    Irrespective, even though the fairy tale COLA throws out high inflation items [like home price escalaltion, etc.], its still the best we’ve got for tracking degradation YOY.

    We are officially in a depression right now, IMO.

  18. 18

    RE: mr.finviz @ 5


    We can call them “land technicians”, then replace them all on the cheap.

    See the proof:

  19. 19

    RE: george @ 11


    The problem is dinky countries like Denmark replaced America and are rated #1 in technological innovation [its a demographic fact that Europe rules in depopulation too] and most of the top ten slots are now European. You and I may not like it or go into “DENIAL”, but it don’t change pragmatic facts one iota. Even overpopulated countries like Japan/China/India rate below Mexico. These innovation statistics were discontinued in 2007 [by the globalist banksters?], so its slam dunk its much worse today.

    Ohhhh…we can look to subpar technological innovation overpopulated countries that are good bookworms and good at reverse engineering our old tools/inventions on the cheap; but the “earth-shaking” replacement new technology is likely “FRANKENSTEIN” inventions to the banksters/globalists threatening their hold on the world economy with slave wages.

    I imagine a likely replacement for the internal combustion engine is sitting in some billionaire’s basement or even a secret government wharehouse; trouble is, it lasts forever and doesn’t run on oil. It sure explains the possible real UFO sightings….LOL

  20. 20

    RE: David Losh @ 14

    HI DAVE:

    If its upside down:

    1. default, if the owner doesn have cash enough….then rents at new job
    2. a huge loss for the owner and sells it with cash savings draw
    3. short sale, with possible/likely old house debt following them to their new job

  21. 21

    RE: Plastic Bags @ 16


    You need to know Spanish to get hired. I can see maybe French, but the Spanish requirement is a laughing stock by Canada.

    The Oregon Fire Fighters only hire Spanish Speaking applicants too.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    US Tech Jobs for US Tech Workers says:

    H1 visa workers are temporary, non-immigrants to the United States. Being a guest worker is a privilidge, not a right.

    Talk about a credit risk
    Credit history – do newly arrived temporary workers have a US credit history?
    Income – banks require a 5 year minimum 5 income stream. H-1 and L visas only 3 years. Renewal uncertain.
    Collateral – What type of collateral do they have to back this up?
    Flight Risk – Laid-off temporary non-immigrant workers are deported.
    So, if a H/L visa worker is laid off – what incentive is there for them to pay off their loan? NONE. Why would they care about their credit rating? THEY DON’T.

    Seattle Banks – you better hope that your borrowers leave the keys on the kitchen table and flee to Vancouver instead of India – this way, the USCIS can catch them at the border.

    The USCIS, DOJ, US Senator, and DOL are all actively pursuing legislative, legal, and criminal actions against H-1b and L visa fraud and abuse.

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