Washington State jobless rate jumps to 7.7 percent


Associated Press
King 5 News

Washington state's unemployment rate increased to 7.7 percent in June, the highest level since April 2002, the Employment Security department reported Tuesday.

The increase of three-tenths of a percentage point contrasts with other signs that the economy is strengthening, Employment Security Commissioner Sylvia Mundy said.

"While some sectors are showing signs of recovery, businesses overall are not yet convinced that demand will be sufficient to justify hiring," Mundy said.

The national jobless rate increased by a similar amount to 6.4 percent. In neighboring Oregon, the unemployment rate for June was 8.5 percent, the highest in nearly 17 years.

The rise in Washington state's rate, when adjusted for normal seasonal variation, was caused by a decrease in current employment rather than an increase in job seekers, Mundy explained.

Although the state lost 700 more jobs in the struggling aerospace industry, most job losses came from normal seasonal layoffs in education, which shed more than 7,000 jobs for the summer.

Normal seasonal gains continued in tourism, construction and retail trade. The state added 6,000 leisure and hospitality jobs, the department reported.

Compared to June of last year, there was virtually no change in overall non-farm employment, the department reported, although the manufacturing sector lost 20,700 jobs during the year. Construction, financial activities, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality all showed growth over the last 12 months.


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