Let’s have a look at the jobs data for June and how the Seattle area’s unemployment rate and approximate labor participation rate alongside the national numbers.
In June the Seattle area’s unemployment rate hit its lowest level in almost six years. June’s 4.8 percent unemployment rate was comparable to the 4.7 percent level in August 2008. The national unemployment rate is still a bit higher at 6.1 percent, also roughly on-par with the same period in late 2008.
The Seattle-area labor participation has held steady around 70 percent so far all this year. June’s level was 70.3 percent. The national labor force participation rate has also been relatively stable, but quite a bit lower, coming in at 62.8 percent for June. 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 doing slightly better than the nation, but not as well as the Seattle area.