It's that time of the month again... time for the latest state job statistics, and time for everyone's favorite cliché, good news / bad news. The good news is more jobs were added in June than in May. The bad news is that job growth is still significantly slower than it was just six months ago.
Not that long ago, when the Pacific Northwest was the nation's economic wallflower, adding 9,200 jobs in Washington over a three-month period would have been cause for celebration — or at least hopeful smiles.Underwhelming, but certainly not unpredictable... As real estate continues to slow, the jobs market is likely to slow as well. 3,800 new jobs created across the state last month is decent, and it would be nice if that rate of economic growth continues. I just don't think that it will. If the number of home sales continues to drop, we will soon find out just how much of our economy is based on selling each other homes.
But Tuesday's jobs report, which showed payrolls in the state grew by 3,800 jobs in June and closed out the second quarter with a 9,200-job net increase, was more evidence that Washington's economic engine has shifted into lower gear.
In the fourth quarter of 2005, Washington's jobs base jumped by 41,100; in the first quarter of this year, it grew by another 32,200 jobs.
In contrast, the 9,200 jobs added in the second quarter seemed a bit, well, underwhelming.
The reasons aren't hard to find. Rising mortgage rates have made the region's homes even less affordable, which has cut into housing demand and in turn slowed hiring in construction trades.
Each month from September 2005 to March, the construction sector added more than 1,000 jobs; from April to June, by contrast, construction added just 300 net new jobs.
(Drew DeSilver, Seattle Times, 07.19.2006)