Apr 14, 2023 - Business

Seattle jobless rate was slightly below U.S. average in February

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The unemployment rate in the Seattle metro area stayed flat from January to February, hovering around 3.4%, per a new Axios analysis of Labor Department data.

Zoom in: The region's February unemployment rate improved 0.3 percentage points from a year earlier, when it was 3.7%. But the Seattle area didn't see a month-to-month decline in joblessness, like many metros did.

That's likely because of recent tech layoffs. Since the start of the year, many tech companies — including Amazon and Microsoft — have announced thousands of job cuts in the Seattle area.

Still, the February unemployment rate in and around Seattle was slightly below the national rate, which was 3.6%.

Why it matters: Looking at only the national unemployment rate can hide significant disparities between cities that are thriving and those that are struggling.

Details: As of February — the latest month for which city-level data is available — the Seattle area was sitting roughly in the middle of the pack.

  • February unemployment was below 3% in a handful of major U.S. metro areas, including Miami (2.2%), Minneapolis (2.4%) and Tampa (2.5%).
  • But it was above 4% in Las Vegas (5.7%), Chicago (4.4%) and Los Angeles (4.3%).

What we're watching: Whether the Seattle area's unemployment rate dips below the national average as more data from 2023 rolls in, and as more tech company layoffs take hold.

Go deeper: The cities with the highest — and lowest — unemployment levels

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