Seattle Area Unemployment Drops, More Jobs Added

Let’s take another look at the Seattle area’s employment situation.

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

Seattle-Area YOY Job Gains / Losses

Construction continues to post bigger gains than other sectors—up 8.9% year-over-year in October, versus an overall gain of 3.6%. Manufacturing has slipped somewhat in recent months, but is still the second-best-performing sector.

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

Seattle-Area Unemployment Rate

Unemployment fell in Seattle and Washington State from September to October, while it inched up slightly nationally. The Seattle area is still outperforming Washington State and the nation as a whole, with October unemployment coming in at 7.9% for the US, 8.2% for Washington, and 7.3% for the Seattle area.

At this rate it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Seattle area get down to six percent unemployment by this time next year.


Seasonally adjusted series used for all data sets.

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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
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    What’s the average salary looking like?

  2. 2
    gxar26 says:

    It would be interesting to see other categories broken out. For example technology and health care.

  3. 3
    siddharta says:

    Technology unemployment must be below 5% considering the hard times companies are having finding engineers.

  4. 4
    johnberk says:

    I´m glad to hear this. But the chart speaks clearly. 8-9 % unemployment is way too big. Let´s see how Obama deals with this problem (I hope it won´t be this way).

    Anyway, things are pretty calm in Vancouver, we are doing a bit better with 7.4% rate for October and we are also experiencing a steady increase in the wages. I´m less happy with the October Market Report, which shows the prices of housing are dropping too slowly. I hope further price corrections will continue.

  5. 5
    Jonness says:

    RE: siddharta @ 3 – I’d be surprised if it’s that high. Tim’s 6% overall by next year seems rather optimistic to me. But here’s to hoping.

  6. 6
    Blurtman says:

    How be the labor force participation rate?

    From WA State ESD: “The survey does not count people who have stopped looking for work.”

  7. 7
    redmondjp says:

    RE: siddharta @ 3 – And of course, let’s not mention the hundreds (or low thousands) of people that Microsoft quietly lets go every single year, due to their infernal grade-on-a-curve performance review system. Getting a 4 or (God forbid) a 5 is the modern-day scarlet letter that makes you poison to other MS managers who have job openings.

  8. 8
    Chris says:

    That’s weird, the Seattle Times reported today that King County unemployment fell to 6.5% in October – I wonder why their number is so much lower than the 7.3% Tim uses.

    “Unemployment in King County fell to 6.5 percent in October, down from 6.9 percent the previous month, the state Department of Employment Security said Tuesday.”

  9. 9

    RE: Chris @ 8 – Maybe “the Seattle area” is more than King County?

  10. 10
    james78 says:

    RE: siddharta @ 3

    LOL! that must be it. our kids these days, with $150k educations, just aren’t good enough.

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