Washington State unemployment rate dips to 8.9%

Washington’s private sector picked up 3,100 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell for the fourth consecutive month, to 8.9 percent. The June unemployment rate was revised upward from 8.9 percent to 9 percent after more analysis.

Overall, payrolls were down 2,300 in July due to the elimination of an estimated 5,400 government jobs, the majority of which were federal census jobs.

So far in 2010, Washington has added 21,100 private-sector jobs. Including government jobs, there has been a total net gain of 19,800 jobs during the past seven months.

“Job growth is still wobbly, but the private sector is showing encouraging signs of life,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee.

Industries that added jobs in July were transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 1,000; construction, up 900; education and health services, up 900; retail trade, up 600; wholesale trade, up 500; information, up 300; professional and business services, up 300; and mining and logging, up 200.

Jobs were lost in government, down 5,400; manufacturing, down 700; financial activities, down 500; other services, down 300; and leisure and hospitality, down 100.

Year over year, Washington had 14,500 fewer jobs last month than in July 2009, a 0.51 percent decrease. Nationally, employment declined by 0.04 percent over the past year.

An estimated 306,218 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work, and 239,773 people received unemployment benefits from Washington in July.

Employment Security is a partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which offers a variety of employment and training services for job seekers, including free help with interviewing skills, resumes and job referrals.

WorkSource also can help employers recruit and screen for qualified workers, apply for employment tax breaks and qualify for subsidized employee training.

Locations of local WorkSource offices are listed online at http://www.go2worksource.com . Assistance also is available by phone at 877-872-5627. In addition, more than 21,000 job openings are posted online at http://www.go2worksource.com .