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Jobs and unemployment both improved in October


November 17, 2011

Washington’s employment picture bounced back in October, adding an estimated 4,600 jobs and lowering the unemployment rate to 9 percent.

This is the lowest the state’s unemployment rate has been since March 2009.

“The October numbers showing slow, steady improvement are more consistent with what we’ve seen for more than a year,” said Dave Wallace, an economist for Employment Security. “It looks more likely that the September numbers were an anomaly.”

The department originally estimated that the state lost 18,400 jobs in September, but has since revised the estimate to a loss of 10,700 jobs. Also, the unemployment rate for September has been revised from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent.

Industries that posted the most job gains in October included government, which added 4,900 jobs; wholesale trade, up 3,100 jobs; education and health services, up 2,600; and manufacturing, up 2,100 (1,500 of them in aerospace).

Most of the growth in the government sector was in local government (up 2,900), federal government (up 1,500) and public higher education (up 1,000).

Jobs were lost in professional and business services, down 7,000; transportation, warehousing and utilities, down 1,100; retail trade, down 1,000; state government (excluding higher education), down 500 jobs; and financial activities, down 400.

Altogether, employment in Washington has increased by an estimated 31,900 since October 2010. Of these, 40,700 were added in the private sector, while government shed 8,800 jobs.

An estimated 314,698 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in October, and 176,390 of them received $255 million in unemployment benefits. As of Nov. 5, 64,550 workers in Washington had run out of all unemployment benefits.

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, résumés 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 and in the blue pages of local telephone books.


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