Wash. unemployment reaches 9.2 percent

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 9.2 percent in March 2009, up from February’s revised rate of 8.3 percent, according to the state Employment Security Department.

The state lost an estimated 20,000 non-agricultural jobs last month, seasonally adjusted.

There was no significant job growth in any major industry or sector. The largest monthly declines were in construction, down 5,100 jobs, durable goods, which lost 2,400 jobs, and education and health services, down 2,100.

The state lost 99,100 jobs from March 2008 to March 2009, a 3.3 percent decrease. Only the education and health-services sector (up 1.3 percent) and government services (up 0.8 percent) added jobs in the past 12 months. Nationally, employment declined by 3.5 percent over the past year.

An estimated 344,069 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in March. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed people is 327,442, showing that some of the unemployment is expected at this time of year, but the vast majority is due to the recession.

In Washington, an eligible worker who uses all of his regular unemployment benefits may qualify for up to 33 weeks of emergency unemployment compensation, followed by up to 13 weeks of extended benefits. Unemployed workers who are participating in the Training Benefits Program may receive additional weeks of benefits.

Laid-off workers can apply for unemployment benefits online at http://www.esd.wa.gov or call 800-318-6022.

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, nearly 15,000 current job openings are posted on http://www.go2worksource.com .