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King County Labor Area Summary - Dec 2019

King County Labor Area Summary - Dec 2019

by Labor Security Department on February 11, 2020

Preliminary figures for December 2019 are contained in this report. My major year-end takeaway for King County is that the low unemployment rate means very different things by industry. Employment growth is slowing among industries that draw heavily from the local labor market; by contrast, industries that can cast their net to a national or international labor force continue to see rapid employment growth. Here are some highlights from this month’s report.



  • In December 2019, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in King County was 2.1 percent. This is down from 2.3 percent reported in November. Twelve months ago, the unemployment rate was 3.3 percent. This is noteworthy, as it is the lowest reported unemployment rate for King County in the current series for King County (dating back to 1990).
  • The King County labor force expanded by 2.8 percent over the year.
  • Nonfarm employment expanded by 3,600 from November to December 2019. There were an estimated 1,497,500 total nonfarm jobs in King County.
  • Six of the major industries detailed in this report added jobs and 6 shed jobs from November to December on a not seasonally adjusted basis. The largest one-month gains were attributable to retail trade, reflecting the holiday season, and the deepest losses were observed in government.
  • Total nonfarm employment in December 2019 was 46,200 above the level observed 12 months earlier. This represents a 3.2 percent increase in employment over the year.
  • Year-to-year growth was observed in almost every major industry detailed in this report. The largest gains were observed in information, retail, and education and health services. The only major industry reporting annual employment losses was wholesale trade.
  • The King County labor force expanded by 2.8 percent over the year.
Anneliese Vance-Sherman, Ph.D.
Regional Labor Economist
Employment Security Department
Tel.       425.258.6315
Mobile  360.630.1232