Is the Job Market in Seattle Stalling?
The current state of job creation here in Seattle is similar to the weather – it can change from one minute to the next. So are jobs on the rise or not? Well, it kind of depends on who you ask… and where you look. Because, unlike the weather in Puget Sound, the job outlook isn’t as gloomy as some would have you believe.
As we reported in a previous posting (‘Seattle Thriving Despite Economic Slump‘), job creation is strong within localized areas of the Puget Sound, namely Lake Union and other key areas that are home to the computer and biotech industries.
However, Seattle has yet to regain even half the jobs it lost due to the recession, according to information put out by the Brookings Institution, an organization that provides analysis and statistical data on cities and metropolitan areas.
The Brookings report went on to place Seattle within the second tier of strongest metropolitan areas, beat out by Boston, Dallas, Washington D.C. and 17 other areas, many of which rely on military bases or government employment to fuel their respective economies. The same cannot be said of Seattle, which has continued to increase its job market through private employment and without the aid of a significant number of government jobs.
In addition, Seattle currently has an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent, compared to cities like Portland with 8.8 percent, Sacramento with 12 percent and Bakersfield, Modesto and Stockton, all with unemployment rates hovering between 16 to 17 percent, according to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Plus, 73 of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States – Seattle among them – had job growth in the first quarter of 2011, up from 67 cities in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 35 cities in the third quarter, according to the Brookings report.
So what does it all mean?
The numbers seem to indicate that, here in Seattle and around the Puget Sound, job creation is on the rise, even if not at a terribly consistent rate. Yet as economic recovery is reportedly stalling, Seattle continues to enjoy relatively stable growth that’s expected to continue into the foreseeable future due in part to the strength of our local industries.