State’s jobless rate at 7.3, better than nation’s

rboone@theolympian.comApril 18, 2013 

Seasonally adjusted Washington state unemployment fell to 7.3 percent in March, ending three straight months in which the jobless rate had been stuck at 7.5 percent, the state Employment Security Department announced Wednesday.

The March jobless rate was the lowest since December 2008.

Although the unemployment rate fell last month so did job creation as the state coughed up 5,500 jobs in the February to March period.

Government led the way with 4,600 jobs lost, followed by professional and business services with 2,500 jobs. Industries that showed job gains included education and health services, up 1,800, and manufacturing, up 900.

Employment Security labor economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman told reporters during a teleconference Wednesday not to read too much into the 5,500 job losses, saying that although there have been “some bumps in the road,” the overall economic trend is job growth and a falling jobless rate.

Seattle-area unemployment fell to 5.5 percent in March, Vance-Sherman said.

“It’s a consistent trend that points to an improved economy,” she said, although most of that growth has been in King and Snohomish counties, while the recovery in rural counties has been “more spotty.”

Washington unemployment peaked at 10.2 percent in December 2009, Vance-Sherman said.

Thurston County’s jobless rate for March will be released Tuesday. In February, the county’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent.

National unemployment was 7.6 percent in March.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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