Published October 17, 2012
State jobless rate inches down to 8.5 percent in SeptemberRolf Boone/The Business Blog
Washington state unemployment showed modest improvement in September as the seasonally-adjusted jobless rate fell to 8.5 percent last month from 8.6 percent in August, according to state Employment Security Department data released Wednesday.The state added 1,200 jobs in September, while revisions to the August data show the state created 2,500 jobs after initially reporting a loss of 1,100 jobs. Employment Security always releases preliminary data followed by revisions to that data."The trend over the past 31 months shows an increasing rate of job growth," said Joe Elling, Employment Security chief labor economist, in a statement.Elling added in a conference call Wednesday morning that although construction employment is improving, the industry remains at depressed levels."It will take some more time before we see the jobless rate move (down) compared to previous recoveries," he said.The public sector added 2,700 jobs last month, with most of that gain coming in education, while the private sector shed 1,500 jobs. Those numbers were pulled lower by job losses in manufacturing, retail trade, a category called "transportation, warehousing and utilities," plus wholesale trade and financial activities.Meanwhile, an estimated 296,000 people were unemployed last month and looking for work, including about 126,000 who claimed jobless benefits. About 3,200 jobless workers also exhausted their benefits last month, raising the total to 111,892 since extended benefits were activated in July 2008.County jobless rates, which are not seasonally adjusted, will be released Tuesday. Thurston County's unemployment rate in August was 8.2 percent.