Job vacancies in Washington last fall were 32 percent fewer than just six months earlier, according to the latest job-vacancy report from the Employment Security Department.
The survey showed that Washington companies were attempting to fill an estimated 50,593 open positions in the fall of 2008, compared to 74,744 open positions in the spring of the same year.
The Fall 2008 Washington Job-Vacancy Survey report is based on a survey taken in October that measured job openings that firms across Washington were actively attempting to fill. The survey is taken twice a year, in the spring and fall.
"We saw a very sharp drop in a very short time in our state," said Greg Weeks, Employment Security's director of labor-market information. "But the report shows that, despite a weak economy, firms are still hiring."
Industries with the most vacancies in October were health care, with 14,409 job openings, retail, with 7,231 openings, and accommodations (hotels) and food services, with 5,282 vacancies.
The occupation that was most in demand was registered nurses. Statewide, there were an estimated 4,124 openings for registered nurses.
"People looking for jobs or long-term careers have a better chance of getting and keeping a job in health care," said Weeks. "Even in a soft economy, it is still a strong industry, and there are consistently more jobs in health care than in other industries."
Most job openings were found in the Puget Sound area, particularly in King and Pierce counties. Forty percent of estimated openings were in King County, which is slightly less than the county's employment share of 42 percent. Eleven percent of fall vacancies were in Pierce County and 9 percent in Snohomish and Spokane counties.
More than 40 percent of vacant positions were offering less than $10 per hour, and 6 percent involved positions offering $30 or higher per hour. The median wage for jobs requiring advanced degrees was $35.47 per hour. Median wages for available jobs dropped consistently with lower educational requirements, according to the October survey.
Job seekers can learn more about prevalent occupations and search more than 14,000 jobs listed online at www.go2worksource.com <http://www.go2worksource.com> or by visiting a local WorkSource center. There are 68 WorkSource offices across Washington.
The full Washington State Job Vacancy Survey report is available online at www.workforceexplorer.com <http://www.workforceexplorer.com> .