Job vacancies in Washington grew by about 35 percent from last spring to the fall of 2012 and a quarter of the vacancies were new jobs, according to a new report from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
The department surveyed employers in the spring and fall last year to find out how many vacancies they had and how many of those vacancies were new positions. The surveys also asked companies how many external hires they made from January through March and from June through August.
According to the 2012 surveys, vacancies increased by about 18,500 openings between spring and fall, reaching an estimated total of 70,434 in the fall. About one-third of the increase occurred in the agricultural industry, which was reaching its peak seasonal hiring when the fall survey was taken.
“Although seasonal hiring accounts for a large portion of the increased vacancies, it was encouraging that more than two-thirds of the vacancies were for permanent jobs,” said Cynthia Forland, research director for Employment Security.
The three industries with the most vacancies in the fall were health care and social assistance; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; and manufacturing. The occupations with the most available openings were farmworkers, retail salespeople and food processing.
In addition to vacancies, employers reported more than 190,000 external hires during the June through August time period, about 72,453 more than the first quarter of the year. More than 18 percent of the summer hires were farmworkers, followed by retail salespeople and cashiers.
On average, it took employers 19 days to fill their vacancies, ranging from about 10 days for vacancies in the agriculture and food-services industries to 37 days to fill vacancies in the information industry.
Statewide, the average hourly starting wage across all industries and occupations was $13.48.
The full report includes additional details about the education and training that employers were looking for, as well as comparisons between industries, occupations and geographic areas of the state.