In the four years since the Great Recession began, workers in Washington have faced high unemployment, increased poverty and decreased access to health care coverage. Although the recession officially ended in June of 2009, its effects on workers and families have lingered. In 2010, job prospects for Washingtonians improved only slightly.
In 2011, the economy repeated a similar story – unemployment declined slightly and many sectors experienced modest job growth. Although economic insecurity remains a stark reality for many, a second year of private sector job growth may indicate the state is beginning to emerge from the long-lasting effects of the Great Recession.
The Great Recession hit Washington in early 2008, and four years later residents continue to suffer from its widespread impacts. Washington’s total nonfarm growth reached just 1% in 2010, gaining 26,400 jobs across industries. During 2011, the state experienced 1.9% growth in nonfarm industries, gaining 53,500 jobs. This growth is slight compared to the nearly 200,000 jobs lost over the previous two years, but it is the second year of job gains for many industries. While some industries have experienced loss and growth proportional to the state’s overall economic changes, a few sectors have been particularly hard hit, including construction and public service. Jobs in other industries have continued to grow over the last four years. Between December 2010 and December 2011, as Washington’s overall economy showed initial signs of stabilization, industries exhibited wide variations in job loss and growth.