State unemployment rate reaches 8.4 percent

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.4 percent in February, up from January’s rate of 7.8 percent, according to the state Employment Security Department.

The state lost an estimated 28,200 non-agricultural jobs, seasonally adjusted.

The most job growth occurred in the financial-activities industry, which added 1,200 jobs. Industries with the largest declines were professional and business services, down 13,400 jobs, transportation, trade and utilities, down 4,900, construction, down 4,200, and manufacturing, which cut 2,500 jobs.

Year over year, Washington had 97,100 fewer jobs last month than in February 2008, a 3.3 percent decrease. Nationally, employment declined by 3 percent from a year ago.

An estimated 330,572 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in February, another new record.

“I urge unemployed workers to visit their nearest WorkSource center and take advantage of the expert resources there,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee. “More and more workers qualify for training assistance to prepare for a new career, and federal stimulus funds will arrive soon to help pay for it.”

In addition to training programs, unemployed workers can get help looking for work at Employment Security’s affiliated WorkSource offices across the state, where a variety of employment services are offered, including free help with interviewing skills or résumés and with job referrals. In addition, more than 15,000 current job openings are posted on .