Seattle Employment Still Outperforming Nation

Jobs data for December was released last week, so let’s take an updated look at the Seattle area’s unemployment rate and approximate labor participation rate alongside the national numbers.

Unemployment & Labor Participation

In December the Seattle area’s unemployment rate dipped slightly from 5.6% to 5.3%. The national unemployment rate is still a bit higher, but also declined in December to 6.7%.

The Seattle-area labor participation was flat in December at 69.3%. The national labor force participation rate fell 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 we’re still waiting on the unemployment rate 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 in the first half of this year.

Later this week we’ll look at how specific job sectors are performing in the Seattle area.


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

    On the topic of unemployment, the CBO says Obamacare will make it worse. Not a surprise.

  2. 2

    The Bureau of Labor Statistic for the Seattle/Bellevue/Tacoma area is CLEAR

    The total Seattle Area Labor Force is deteriorating at a fast clip for the bottom half of 2013:

    To put it in simple terms, its HORRIFYING. To add insult to injury on this topic, this total labor force has been flat since the bad economy crashed [depression?] in 2009. And some allege we’ve made inprovements since 2009?

  3. 3
    doug says:

    There came a Pharoah who did not know……….

  4. 4

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1

    Yes Kary

    Yahoo news reiterated your link:

    IMO, the fabric of the America I knew most of my life is totally torn [not just ACA]….we believe the allegations or lies of failure NWO policies or be called politically incorrect trouble makers.

  5. 5

    RE: softwarengineer @ 4 – If the Seahawks can recover from Ken Behring, Tom Flores and Mike Holmgren, the United States can recover from anything!

  6. 6
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5
    Holmgren took us from a crappy team to a Super Bowl team. He did good. He just couldn’t stick to a budget like Pete Carroll can.

  7. 7

    By Erik @ 6:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5
    Holmgren took us from a crappy team to a Super Bowl team. He did good. He just couldn’t stick to a budget like Pete Carroll can.

    Holmgren took us from a good division to a then crappy to extend his tenure. After two years it was apparent that Holmgren was over-rated and to understand that you only need to see who his assistant coaches were at Green Bay.

    He wasn’t as bad of a coach as what Flores was, but it’s so nice to not have to scream at the TV about the coaching decisions. Holmgreen was and always will be an over-rated idiot.

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