Washington's unemployment rate falls to 4.5% in December

An Amazon delivery driver delivers packages during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) reports the state's unemployment rate continues to slowly improve as the pandemic rages on.

Between November and December, data from the ESD reports the state's monthly rate for unemployment fell to 4.5%, down from 4.7% in November. Washington's economy likewise added 14,000 jobs. This continues the trend of job growth from November's 17,800 jobs.

"The recovery of Washington state jobs lost during the COVID crisis is still underway," said the ESD economist Paul Turek. "The drop in the unemployment rate to a pandemic-era low underscores the tightness in the labor market."

Despite the growth, ESD still paid out unemployment insurance to 58,587 people in December, an increase of 7,227 from November. The agency attributes that change to seasonal work and winter layoffs.

The national unemployment rate has fallen from 4.2% to 3.9%, compared to 6.7% in Dec. 2020.

Between Dec. 2020 and Dec. 2021, Washington grew an estimated 178,100 jobs, with the largest industries being leisure and hospitality (78,600 jobs), government (18,400 jobs), and professional and business services (17,800 jobs).

You can view the 2022 monthly report, as well as previous reports, on the ESD website.

RELATED: Enrollment drop could cost WA schools $500M in state funding

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