State March unemployment rate drops to 5.4 percent

OLYMPIA — Washington’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.4 percent last month, and the state added 23,100 jobs, officials announced.

The Employment Security Department said Tuesday that March’s rate was down slightly from February’s 5.6 percent rate.

Private sector employment increased by 18,600 jobs and government employment increased by 4,500 jobs. Leisure and hospitality, government and education saw the largest gains, and manufacturing was the only sector that saw a downswing, with 200 job losses.

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’s unemployed and actively looking for work. People who quit looking for work are not counted. The job gains and losses estimates are based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 6.2 percent in February to 6 percent in March.

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