Washington State unemployment holds steady

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed steady at 4.5 percent in February, matching January’s near-record-low rate, according to the state Employment Security Department. Both the January and February unemployment rates came in just one-tenth of a percentage point above the record low set last March, marking 13 straight months of unemployment under 5 percent.
Washington added 3,500 non-agricultural jobs in February. By contrast, the United States lost 63,000 non-agricultural jobs in February.
Over all, Washington netted 50,700 new non-agricultural jobs over the past year, a 1.7 increase. Nationally, job growth for the past year was 0.6 percent.
“Job growth in Washington continues to outpace the national average, just as it has for the past year,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire. “This growth is reflected in our state’s unemployment rate, which is not only low, but near the record low.”
Industries in Washington with the largest job growth last month were retail trade, with 1,000 new jobs, leisure and hospitality, up 900, and professional and business services, with 600 new jobs.
There were small declines in some key industries, including wholesale trade and other services, each down 300, and natural resources and mining, down 100.
An estimated 185,400 people (not seasonally adjusted) currently are unemployed and seeking work in Washington.
“One reason we have low unemployment is because businesses are still creating jobs and they’re finding the right type of workers to fill those jobs,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee. “Anyone who is having a hard time qualifying for the jobs that are available should contact their nearby WorkSource office for help. They may qualify for free or low-cost training to improve their skills.”
WorkSource offices are listed in the blue pages of telephone books and online at http://www.go2worksource.com . Assistance also is available by phone at (877) 872-5627.