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Employment Security Department
Monthly Employment Report for July 2021


Contact:   media@esd.wa.gov    

Washington state continues to add jobs in July

OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 22,700 jobs in July and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5.1 percent from June to July, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).


Total Jobs (losses or gains)

Unemployment rate

2019/2020 Unemployment Rate

March 2020




5.3 percent*

4.4 percent

April 2020




16.3 percent*

4.3  percent

May 2020




12.5 percent*

4.2 percent

June 2020

+ 83,400*

10.8 percent*

4.1 percent

July 2020


+ 38,900


 10.8 percent*

4.1 percent

August 2020

+ 30,100*

  9.1 percent*

4.1 percent

September 2020

+ 12,400*

  8.0 percent*

4.0 percent

October 2020

+   6,200*

  7.0 percent*

3.9 percent

November 2020

+   7,600*

  6.7 percent*

3.9 percent

December 2020


-    9,100*


  6.3 percent

3.9 percent

January 2021

+   8,100*

  6.0 percent

4.0 percent

February 2021

+ 20,200*

  5.6 percent

4.1 percent

March 2021

+ 23,900*

  5.5 percent*

5.3 percent

April 2021

+ 13,200

  5.4 percent*

16.3 percent

May 2021

+   9,100*

  5.2 percent*

12.5 percent

June 2021


  5.2 percent

10.8 percent

July 2021


  5.1 percent

10.8 percent

*Revised from previous preliminary estimates. Preliminary monthly estimates for jobs losses or gains are based on a small Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll survey while actual figures reported the following month are based on a more complete survey.

“The state’s job market recovery has gathered considerable momentum this summer” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “But while additional progress over the next month is a reasonable expectation, the rise of the Delta variant could mute some of the rebound.”

ESD released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that June’s previously reported unemployment rate of 5.2 percent was confirmed. June’s preliminary estimated gain of 24,100 jobs was revised upward to a gain of 25,600 jobs.

The national unemployment rate dropped from 5.9 percent in June to 5.4 percent in July. In July 2020, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 10.2 percent.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 316,343 people in July, a decrease of 43,623 over the previous month.

Labor supply constraints are easing

The state’s labor force in July was 3,905,900 – an increase of 18,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 3,400 over the same period.

From July 2020 to July 2021, the state’s labor force decreased by 14,500 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 27,100.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

From June to July, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 201,600 to 199,200. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 89,700 to 89,200 over the same period.

Nine industry sectors expanded, three industry sectors contracted and one industry sector remained constant in July

Private sector employment increased by 21,300 jobs while government employment increased by 1,400 jobs. Provided below is a summary of the job gains and losses in all thirteen industry sectors.

              Industry sector                              Job gains/losses

Leisure and hospitality

+  11,800

Education and health services

+    3,700

Wholesale trade

+    2,200


+    1,900

Professional and business services

+    1,700


+    1,400

Financial activities

+       900

Other services

+       200


+       100

Retail trade


Mining and logging

-        300


-        400

Transportation, warehousing and utilities

-        500


Leisure and hospitality industry once again contributes most of the job gains

Washington gained an estimated 190,100 jobs from July 2020 – July 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 6.7 percent, up an estimated 181,000 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 1.7 percent, up an estimated 9,100 jobs.

From July 2020 – July 2021, eleven major industry sectors expanded, one industry sector contracted and one remained constant.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Leisure and hospitality up 59,400 jobs
  • Professional and business services up 32,600 jobs
  • Education and health services up 27,100 jobs

The one industry sector which contracted year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, was:

  • Manufacturing down 10,100 jobs

Labor market information

Check it out! ESD has new labor market information and tools, including interactive Tableau graphics to highlight popular information and data.

Monthly Employment Report publication schedule for 2021

Preliminary Data for the month of

State and Seattle Metropolitan Division data released

All Other County data released

January 2021

March 16

March 16

February 2021

March 24

March 30

March 2021

April 14

April 20

April 2021

May 19

May 25

May 2021

June 16

June 22

June 2021

July 14

July 20

July 2021

August 18

August 24

August 2021

September 15

September 21

September 2021

October 20

October 26

October 2021

November 17

November 23

November 2021

December 15

December 21

December 2021

January 19, 2022

January 25, 2022


Employment Security is a proud partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which provides employment and training assistance to job seekers and businesses.  WorkSourceWA.com provides access to thousands of Washington jobs and other employment resources. WorkSource staff can connect you with employers hiring right now in your community, identify training opportunities or help you brush up on your application and interview skills. Find your nearest WorkSource center on the WorkSource office locator page.

Note: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization” for states to include annual averages for 2020. One such alternative measure is the U-6 rate, which considers not only the unemployed population in the official “U-3” unemployment rate, but also marginally attached workers and those employed part time for economic reasons. The U-6 rate is defined by BLS as the “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.” This U-6 measure measures the “unemployed, underemployed, and those who are not looking but who want a job.”

The U-6 unemployment rate for the third quarter 2020 through the second quarter 2021 for Washington state was 13.5 percent. This was lower compared to the 15.8 percent U-6 unemployment rate for the second quarter 2020 through the first quarter 2021. The U.S. U-6 unemployment rate for the third quarter 2020 through the second quarter 2021 was 11.9 percent.


Labor market information questions regarding COVID-19

For workers or businesses affected by the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Employment Security Department (ESD) has programs that may be able to help. Please see ESD’s website for more information

Web links

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