Washington gains jobs in past 12 months as jobless rate decreases

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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Employers in Washington have added a net 29,600 jobs in the past 12 months, lowering the unemployment rate in December to an estimated 8.5 percent, the state Employment Security Department reported Friday.

The state’s 8.5 percent jobless rate is the lowest it’s been since February 2009, when the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent.

Industry sectors that saw the most job growth in December were education and health services, up 2,200 jobs; manufacturing, up 2,100, including 1,100 in aerospace; and the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector, up 500 jobs.

Industries with the most job losses included professional and business services, down an estimated 4,300 jobs; retail trade, down 3,500; leisure and hospitality, down 3,200; construction, down 1,900; and government, down 1,200.

An estimated 297,430 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in December. As of Jan. 17, 71,141 workers in Washington had run out of all unemployment benefits.

The labor market report for Clark County will be released on Jan. 24.