Economic Update: Business and Jobs

Part 2/5: While high-wage sectors have grown, low- and moderate-wage jobs are still making up pandemic losses

Overall, Washington has 2.5% (89,400) net fewer nonfarm jobs than it did pre-pandemic. While high-wage sectors have gained net jobs since February 2020, low- and moderate-wage jobs in hospitality, manufacturing, services, and government are making up ground much more slowly.

Among Washington’s largest job sectors, those with net job gains since February 2020 include: Information (+9.2%), Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (+3.5%), and Retail Trade (+1.6%) – the latter predominately in non-store (online) businesses. Sectors with net job losses over the same period include: Accommodation and Food Services (-10%), Manufacturing (-9.6%), Other Services (-8.0%), State Government (-6.1%), and Local Government (-4.5%).[i]

Net Employment Change During COVID Pandemic
(Feb. 2020 to Nov. 2021, seasonally adjusted)

Sector Washington Seattle Diff. fr. WA avg. wage (2020)
Total Nonfarm -89400 -65700 n/a
Construction 3600 -100 -$114
Manufacturing -28300 -24500 $12,057
Wholesale Trade -3400 -3600 $17,399
Retail Trade 6200 600 $1,471
Information 13700 12400 $171,986
Prof, Sci., and Tech. Services 7800 4800 $42,017
Admin. and Waste Mgmt. Serv. -3700 9700 -$12,846
Health Care and Social Assistance -3800 -3000 -$13,156
Accommodation and Food Serv. -29400 -5300 -$45,201
Other Services -10600 -30000 -$23,260
State Government -9200 -7600 $1,786
Local Government -16300 -6200 -$799

Source: Washington Employment Security Department

Sector Tacoma Spokane Kennewick Yakima Diff. fr. WA avg. wage (2020)
Total Nonfarm -5800 -1200 -1100 -1000 n/a
Min., Log., Const. -300 900 -400 -200 n/a
Manufacturing -700 -900 -100 -300 $12,057
Wholesale Trade -500 -200 n/a -100 $17,399
Retail Trade 1400 -700 0 800 $1,471
Trans., Wrhs., Util. 1200 4000 n/a 200 n/a
Information -400 -700 n/a n/a $171,986
Financial Activities -700 -500 400 n/a n/a
Prof. and Bus. Serv. 300 800 -100 0 n/a
Educ. & Health Serv. -2700 2600 700 -100 n/a
Leisure & Hospitality 1500 -2000 -300 -100 n/a
Other Services -1700 -700 -300 -600 -$23,260
State Government -800 -1800 -500 -200 -$799
Local Government -1600 -2100 -200 -400 $1,786

Source: Washington Employment Security Department

Previous: Part 1 – Employment and the Labor Force | Next: Part 3 – Workers’ Wages and Corporate Profits

[i] Based on seasonally adjusted historical employment estimates (WA-QB) published by the Washington Employment Security Department, https://www.esd.wa.gov/labormarketinfo/employment-estimates.

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