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WA State reports lowest unemployment rate in six years at 5.6% for July

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Once again, Washington State has seen another drop in the unemployment number. Yesterday, the Employment Security Department reported the July number, which is the lowest yet at 5.6%, down from 5.8% in June.

A few major contributors to the decrease in unemployment included the revision of the number of jobs added in June up to 13,600 from 9,100, the revision of the number of unemployed people for June (down from 201,000 to 200,700), the reported preliminary number of unemployed for July dropping from 200,700 to about 195,900, and the addition of about 9,400 jobs in the private sector.

The specific occupational areas that saw big job gains included professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade. Professional and business services topped the list with the addition of 4,500 jobs with leisure and hospitality trailing slightly behind with 4,000 new positions. On a larger scale, our state reported almost 93,000 new jobs (not seasonally adjusted) added during the one year period of July 2013 to July 2014. Recall that number was a bit less for the one year period of June 2013 to June 2014 at 85,000 jobs.

Although it’s mainly positive news with regard to job growth for most occupational areas, there were some job losses reported. Government lost a little over 2,000 positions and transportation, warehousing and utilities lost approximately 1,700.

In the larger picture of unemployment, the national number crept up slightly from 6.1% to 6.2% as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month while our state saw a decrease in the unemployment number. With the summer season coming to an end, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the unemployment number for our state start to slow or remain the same as companies move into the fall season when summer-employed students return to school and hiring doesn’t seem to be as strong.

Given the past growth as well as the positive economic outlook, it seems unlikely that our state will see a decrease in the unemployment rate. In fact, it’s possible we may see another dip in the rate during the holiday season as hiring ramps up, usually occurring as early as October. As long as our state or nation doesn’t suffer an economic disaster, the news should continue to be positive with regard to unemployment and our state’s economy.

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