State’s job growth doubled in June; unemployment held steady

Boosted by an upturn in the construction sector, Washington state’s economy added more than twice as many jobs in June as it did in May, the Employment Security Department reported Wednesday.

Private-sector employers created 15,700 jobs statewide last month, which was partly offset by a loss of 5,900 government jobs, according to the report.

June’s net increase of 9,800 jobs signaled a sharp uptick in hiring over the previous two months, when the state added a combined 6,300 jobs.

Still, Washington’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.8 percent in June as more people entered the labor force.

“On balance, this is a strong jobs report that is split between a re-energizing private sector and a sagging government sector,” state labor economist Paul Turek said in a news release.

The unemployment rate for the Seattle metro area, which includes Bellevue and Everett, also held steady at 4.7 percent.

Joblessness on both the state and local level was well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.

The state’s two fastest-growing sectors last month were construction and professional and business services, which added 4,100 jobs each. They were followed by leisure and hospitality, up 3,800; education and health services, up 1,600; wholesale trade, up 600; and retail trade, up 500.

Besides government, manufacturing was the only other sector to shed jobs last month, with a small decline of 200.

The state has now added back 84 percent of the 205,000 jobs it lost during the Great Recession.