Washington’s unemployment rate has declined steadily since 2016, and now matches the pre-Great Recession low of 4.7%. It’s been a long road to recovery — and official unemployment numbers do not include the many discouraged people who are no longer actively looking for employment, and others who are working part time or in “make-do” jobs because of the scarcity of desirable jobs.
The state’s jobs picture still has room for improvement. A broader measure of labor underutilization (officially called the “U-6”, but often referred to in the press as the “underemployment rate”) includes: the officially unemployed; the “marginally attached” (those neither working nor looking for work, but who want and are available to work, and have looked for work in the past year); and people working part-time who want a full-time job. Washington’s U-6 rate is 8.3% as of the end of March 2018.