Washington state unemployment rate is steady at 4.5 percent

By Rachel La Corte

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Washington state’s unemployment rate of 4.5 percent held steady for a third consecutive month in July, state officials said Wednesday.

According to the latest numbers released by the Employment Security Department, the state also added a net 1,600 jobs last month after the private sector lost 3,700 jobs and the public sector gained 5,300 jobs.

“The good economic news continues in Washington,” Paul Turek, economist for the department, said in a statement.

“Unemployment is at a record low and Washington businesses continue to add jobs.”

Two different surveys are used to calculate unemployment figures and job losses and gains.

The unemployment rate represents the percentage of the labor force that is unemployed and actively looking for work.

People who have stopped looking for work aren’t counted.

The job gains and losses estimates are based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.

The state has added an estimated 85,200 jobs since July 2016, with 67,900 of those jobs in the private sector and 17,300 in the public sector.

The national unemployment rate was 4.3 percent last month.

The rate in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area increased slightly to 3.5 percent in July from 3.4 percent in June.

Unemployment rates for Clallam and Jefferson county are expected next Tuesday.

Overall, six industries in the state expanded last month, six contracted, and one — mining and logging — was unchanged.

The biggest job growth was seen in government, up 5,300 jobs, and education and health services, up 2,000.

The largest losses were seen in leisure and hospitality, which lost 2,600 jobs, and other services, which was down 1,600 jobs.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 49,868 Washington state residents last month.