Here's how unemployment in King County, Washington compares

Written by:
February 13, 2024

Here's how unemployment in King County, Washington compares

King County's unemployment rate in December was 3.5%—ranked #39 highest out of 39 in the state.

Nationally, unemployment has leveled with pre-COVID rates, measuring between 3.5% and 4% for most of the past two years. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed a 3.7% unemployment rate in January. Previously, unemployment skyrocketed to 14.7% at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, and those rates remained elevated through late 2021.

Though national unemployment has mostly normalized, local economies vary widely. Stacker used Bureau of Labor Statistics data to analyze unemployment in King County over time, and how it stacks up within Washington and across the nation.

The unemployment rate in King County is 0.2 percentage points below the national level, and 0.7 percentage points below the state level. It ranks #39 among counties in Washington—ranked first by the preliminary December 2023 unemployment rate, then breaking ties by the number of unemployed people. It trails behind Snohomish County, with an unemployment rate of 3.6%, and has the lowest unemployment in the state.

In real terms, it means an estimated 46,783 of King County's approximately 1,348,293 working residents are out of a job at the moment. That's 5,810 fewer than last month and 7,809 more than a year ago. Some economists fret another recession may be on the horizon, which would drive unemployment up with business closures and layoffs.

This story was produced using automation across 3,100 counties, boroughs, and parishes, based on writing and data reporting by Paxtyn Merten.

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