Unemployment rate dips to near-record low in March

OLYMPIA — Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 4.9 percent to 4.7 percent in March — the lowest rate since August 2007, according to the state Employment Security Department.

“Washington has one of the better growing economies in the nation,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department.

“Strong job growth has pushed the unemployment rate down further as more workers find jobs.”

Washington employers added 10,700 nonfarm jobs in March.

The department released the seasonally adjusted preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its March Monthly Employment Report.

In March of last year, the statewide unemployment rate was 5.6 percent.

The national unemployment rate was 4.5 percent this March and 3.3 percent in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area.

Olympic Peninsula

The unemployment rates for Clallam and Jefferson counties will be released Tuesday.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 65,733 people in March.

The state’s labor force rose to 3.68 million — an increase of 1,500 people from the previous month.

In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 2,500 over the same period.

From March 2016 through March 2017, the state’s labor force grew by 73,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 41,700.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, older than 16.

Washington has added an estimated 92,000 new jobs from March 2016 through March 2017, not seasonally adjusted.

The private sector grew by 3.1 percent or 80,200 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.1 percent, adding 11,800 jobs.

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