Washington unemployment rate in September increases slightly to 5.7 percent

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Washington state's unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.7 percent last month, state officials said Wednesday.

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Numbers released by the state's Employment Security Department show that the September jobless rate was up from August's 5.6 percent rate, and that businesses saw a loss of about 600 jobs from August to September.

Industries that saw the biggest gains include construction, up 2,900 jobs; retail trade, which gained 2,000; and government, up 2,000. Hospitality and leisure had the biggest loss last month, down 4,800 jobs, with 1,900 of those losses in food services and drinking places. Education and health services lost 3,500 jobs, and the transportation, warehousing and utilities category was down 1,000.

The national unemployment rate was 5.9 percent.

Although job growth has moderated since the start of the summer, the state is still on pace to deliver the best overall job growth since 2005, said Paul Turek, an economist with the Employment Security Department.

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.

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More than 198,000 people were unemployed and looking for work in the state last month, and 57,621 of them received unemployment benefits.