Construction and Real Estate Still Shedding Jobs

It’s been a while since we had a look at local job growth data, so let’s update those charts.

First up, year-over-year job growth, broken down into a few relevant sectors:

Seattle-Area YOY Job Gains / Losses

Finance, real estate, and construction are all still shedding jobs, despite a slight year-over-year uptick in overall employment data, which seems to be bouyed by an especially strong showing in the manufacturing sector—up 7.4% from October 2010.

Here’s a look at the overall Seattle area unemployment rate compared to the national rate:

Seattle-Area Unemployment Rate

Trending down slowly, along with the national rate. Nationally, the number of jobs is still roughly five percent lower than it was at the start of the recession nearly four years ago.

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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

    Tim, Your First Chart Needs Weighting Factors

    Like how many workers are each group and does low end retail “run the show” as a percent of the total labor force [which it most likely does]?

    Another anomaly, if manufacturing was running -8% a couple years ago but +8% today; how is that any improvement if they just hired back ones they laid off or worse yet, hired new workers to replace ’em for like half pay? I see many manufacturing companies paying like $13/hr, so even higher manufacturing wages doesn’t mean livable Seattle area wages either…at Boeing they have lower tiers for new hires too, I would assume MSFT does too.

    OK, enough questions to Tim…..I do see some similarity to your data and the BLS data for the Seattle-Everett-Bellevue area, they had 1,486,750 in the labor force as of Sep 2010, but their “latest figures” for Sep 2011 show 1,509,302, not the +2% increase your chart shows, but +1.5% [close].

    The Seattle-Everett-Bellevue unemployment drop for the latest BLS Sep data YOY was like 0.8% and we know many of these just became unemployed ghosts after that. So if a 1.5-2% increase in jobs exists [with a caveat, the 1.5% BLS data is preliminary and “not seasonally adjusted”…..meaning it could be like a bunch of part time Christmas retail jobs at Walmart, your catagories aren’t weighted or likely seasonally adjusted either, I assume], who got ’em????

    We need another weighting factor on the job market…..insourced population increases into Seattle from outside of this country, competing with the domestic worker ghost unemployed chronically growing army documented [to my rough memory its about 15,000/yr impact due to insourcing jobs from abroad]…it would partially explain why the unemployment rate decrease impact was so neglible. Then the cherry on the ice cream treat….how much lower paid were the foreign insourced workers to the domestic normal wages?

  2. 2
    Scotsman says:

    It’s good to see some manufacturing jobs coming back. But as Softie points out above, there may not be as much there as meets the eye. It all confirms what I’ve been feeling- that we’re in a bit of a lull, having reached a probably temporary equilibrium. Given the current factors at work in the economy I think it’s much more likely that we eventually slide back down than it is that a sustainable recovery takes off.

  3. 3
    David Losh says:

    If you look at Real Estate companies today a couple have made the switch to property management. Some have always had the department, and are expanding.

    Construction of Apaprtments is a lower volume business, but Asset Management will be another growth industry. The Real Estate Financial jobs can be switched to a growth if we can get regional control from giant corporate entities. All of the shadow inventory will need to be maintained, managed, and accounted for.

    There are a lot of things that can be done if every one would pull thier heads out into the sunshine, and shift gears. In my opinion we should be past the oh shoot phase of the economy, and settle down into creating personal wealth. It’s not easy starting over, but the economic world I grew up in is now radically different.

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