December Jobs Report: Seattle Unemployment Rate on the Rise

According to the most recent monthly jobs report, the seasonally adjusted Seattle unemployment rate for December was 4.6 percent, a 0.4 percent increase from the previous month but consistent with the rate 12 months prior. Despite this increase, 4,600 Seattle jobs were added on a seasonally adjusted basis in December.

Across the state of Washington, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.5 percent in December, a 0.2 increase from the previous month but a 0.8 percent decrease from 12 months prior. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the state added 7,200 nonfarm jobs during the same reporting period.

How does the increased Seattle unemployment rate impact hiring managers in the city?

Rising unemployment typically means more job seekers on the market. However, Robert Half District President Josh Warborg notes that this can present its own set of challenges for employers.

“Even with the rise in unemployment, the hiring market for top skilled talent remains competitive,” Warborg says, adding that companies should ensure that their salary offerings meet or exceed industry benchmarks and focus on creating a benefits package that promotes a healthy work-life balance.

“In addition to health insurance and vacation time, job seekers are looking for benefits like flexible work hours and professional development,” Warborg says. “Offering less-conventional benefits will distinguish your company for hiring purposes and help you retain your most talented employees later on.”

Warborg adds that, given the bump in Seattle’s unemployment, employers should also be prepared to handle an increasing number of applications. “Develop a strategy for evaluating potential new employees and streamline your interview process,” he says. Consider the prerequisites and qualifications based on the job description and set up a list of standards to help you quickly narrow your list.

How does the latest Seattle jobs report affect your hiring plans? For assistance with recruitment, contact your local Robert Half recruiter at (844) 839-5878.