Washington’s unemployment rate rises in May, but that actually could be a good thing

Which way is the job market headed? Photo via BigStock

Washington state’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.3 percent in May even as more than 11,700 jobs were added, according to a report from the state’s Employment Security Department. But is the uptick actually a good thing? That’s the word from Employment Security economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman who said more unemployed people are re-entering the job market.

“In this case, the higher unemployment rate could be a sign that people are feeling more optimistic about their chances of finding a job,” said Vance-Sherman. More than half of the job growth occurred in the professional and business services sector, with much of it occurring in the employment-services industry.

“Businesses often turn to temp agencies when they’re ready to start hiring again, so we’re excited when we see job growth in that area,” Vance-Sherman said. According to the report, Washington state has added 102,500 jobs since the low point of the recession.

The information category, where a number of tech jobs are classified, actually saw jobs decline by 100 during the month. That comes even as companies such as Amazon.com, F5, Tableau and others struggle to hire new tech workers.

Here’s the full report, and a look at a chart of the unemployment rate in the state and Seattle.

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