News Release Information

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Technical information:
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Unemployment in the Seattle Area by County - June 2016

Two of the Nine Counties Had Lower Unemployment Rates than in the Previous Year

In June, King County had the lowest unemployment rate in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. Combined Statistical Area at 4.3 percent, followed by Snohomish County at 4.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Richard Holden, the Bureau’s Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations, noted that Lewis County had the highest unemployment rate, 8.4 percent. Seven of the nine local-area counties had jobless rates above the national average of 5.1 percent. (See chart 1. The Technical Note at the end of this release contains the metropolitan area definition. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

In June 2016, seven counties in the Seattle area had over-the-year jobless rate increases ranging from 0.8 percentage point in Mason County to 0.3 percentage point each in Island and Pierce Counties. The unemployment rate fell over the year in King and Snohomish Counties (-0.2 percentage point each). Nationally, the unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage point from June a year ago. (See table A.)

Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States, the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. Combined Statistical Area, and its components, not seasonally adjusted
Area Unemployment rate Change from
June 2014 June 2015 June 2016 June 2014 to June 2016(1) June 2015 to June 2016(1)

United States

6.3 5.5 5.1 -1.2 -0.4
Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. Combined Statistical Area 5.5 5.1 5.1 -0.4 0.0

Island County

6.0 5.8 6.1 0.1 0.3

King County

5.0 4.5 4.3 -0.7 -0.2

Kitsap County

5.7 5.4 6.0 0.3 0.6

Lewis County

8.2 7.9 8.4 0.2 0.5

Mason County

7.6 7.1 7.9 0.3 0.8

Pierce County

6.6 6.2 6.5 -0.1 0.3

Skagit County

6.5 6.3 6.7 0.2 0.4

Snohomish County

5.6 4.9 4.7 -0.9 -0.2

Thurston County

6.0 5.7 6.1 0.1 0.4

(1) Data for the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. Combined Statistical Area and its components are preliminary for the most recent month.

Six of the nine Seattle-area counties had jobless rate increases from June 2014 to June 2016: Kitsap and Mason (+0.3 percentage point each), Lewis and Skagit (+0.2 point each), and Island and Thurston (+0.1 point each). In contrast, unemployment rates fell in the three remaining counties: Snohomish (-0.9 percentage point), King (-0.7 point), and Pierce (-0.1 point). Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased 1.2 percentage points over the two-year period.

The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for July 2016 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

Technical Note

This release presents unemployment rate data for states and counties from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, a federal-state cooperative endeavor. 

Definitions. The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. The LAUS program measures employment and unemployment on a place-of-residence basis. The universe for each is the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over.  Employed persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm, plus those not working who had a job from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor-management dispute, illness, or vacation. Unemployed persons are those who were not employed during the reference week (based on the definition above), had actively looked for a job sometime in the 4-week period ending with the reference week, and were currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed.  The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force.

Methods of Estimation. The LAUS program is a hierarchy of non-survey methodologies for indirectly estimating employment and unemployment in states and local areas. Statewide data are produced through a modeling technique that uses estimates of payroll jobs from the Current Employment Statistics survey and unemployment insurance claims counts from the state workforce agencies to mitigate volatility in the direct CPS tabulations of employment and unemployment, respectively. Data for labor market areas, such as metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions, are produced through a building block approach and adjusted proportionally to state model-based totals. Data for counties within labor market areas are produced through a disaggregation technique. A detailed description of the LAUS estimation procedures is available in chapter 4 of the BLS Handbook of Methods at

Annual Revisions. Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year, usually implemented with January estimates. The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model reestimation. All substate estimates are reestimated and adjusted to add to the revised model-based estimates.

Area Definitions. The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, dated February 28, 2013. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at

The Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. Combined Statistical Area includes Island, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, and Thurston Counties in Washington.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, August 18, 2016