EDC Insights

Jul 27
Economic Development Council


By Economic Development Council
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  • In June 2017, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in King County was 3.7 percent. This is up from 3.1 percent observed in May. Twelve months ago, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.
  • Nonfarm employment in King County expanded by 8,400 from May to June 2017. In June, there were an estimated 1,407,500 total nonfarm jobs in King County.
  • Total nonfarm employment in June 2017 was 40,000 jobs above the level observed 12 months earlier. This represents a 2.9 percent increase in employment over the year.
  • Year-to-year growth was observed in most major industry sectors. The largest gains were observed in retail trade (up 8,700), professional and business services (up 5,700), and information (up 5,500). Manufacturing reported declining employment over the year (down 2,100).

Unemployment rates and labor force information
The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for King County was 3.4 percent (preliminary) in June 2017. The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for King County was 3.7 percent (preliminary) in June 2017. This is up from 3.1 percent observed in May (revised). For reference, the unemployment rate in June 2016 was 4.1 percent.  

The ‘Great Recession’ gripped Washington in mid-2008. Through the course of 2008 and 2009, the unemployment rate rapidly increased, reaching a peak rate of 9.5 percent in the beginning of 2010. Since then, the elevated rate has diminished. June 2017 figures are:  

Unemployment rates, not seasonally adjusted
King County, January 2014 through June 2017
Source: Washington Employment Security Department/WTIS

The unemployment rate peaked at 9.5% in early 2010. In June 2017, the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent. 

  • King County Labor Force: 1,222,729
  • Total Employed: 1,177,961
  • Total unemployed: 44,768
  • Unemployment rate: 3.7 %

Total nonfarm employment
Month-to-month, King County’s labor force contracted by 5,069 people. The number of employed people decreased by 11,667 and the number of active job seekers increased by 6,598, pushing the unemployment rate up. Over-the-year, the labor force expanded by 10,353 people or 0.9 percent.  

King County job growth continues to climb. From June 2016 to June 2017, King County employment expanded by 40,000. 

King County employment levels peaked in 2008 and reached their lowest levels since the start of the economic downturn in early 2010. Average annual total nonfarm employment fell by 6.4 percent from 2008 to 2010. In 2010, employment levels were roughly equivalent to 2005 levels. Employment since 2010 has expanded for all of King County’s major private sector industries and has exceeded the 2008 level since 2012.   

New! City level estimates 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics and Employment Security Department publish labor force information for cities with a population of 25,000 or more. Unemployment rates for selected cities can be found at www.esd.wa.gov/labormarketinfo/labor-force.  

Learn more at the Washington Employment Security Department website.