Washington jobless rate drops, still sees job losses



Updated: December 18, 2013, 11:37 AM


Local angle

Clark County added 4,100 jobs and posted an annualized growth rate of 3.1 percent in the 12 months ending in October, according to the state Employment Security Department. The county posted a preliminary unemployment rate of 7.1 percent in October. That’s down from 9.7 percent unemployment in October 2012.

However, October’s initial jobless rate of 7.1 percent is likely to be revised upward to just above 8 percent. The revision will take into account those unemployed county residents who previously worked in Oregon.

Clark County’s labor market report for November, including payroll and unemployment figures, is slated for release on Dec. 23.

OLYMPIA — Washington state’s unemployment rate dropped slightly last month, but the state still saw job losses, according to numbers released Wednesday by the state Employment Security Department.

The state’s unemployment rate for November was 6.8 percent, down from 7 percent in October. However, at the same time, the state saw a decrease of an estimated 6,000 jobs, with government, manufacturing and construction reporting the biggest losses. An initial estimate of 8,100 jobs lost in October was revised down to 7,400.

Sectors that saw some gains in November were leisure and hospitality, financial activities, information, and retail trade.

“November typically is not a robust month for employment, so we weren’t expecting to see a big turnaround,” Paul Turek, a labor economist for Employment Security, said in a written statement. “The jobs data show there’s still some lingering weakness in the state’s labor market.”

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 are not counted. The job gains and losses estimates are based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.

Since November 2012, when Washington state’s unemployment rate was 7.8 percent, the state has gained more than 37,000 jobs.

More than 235,000 people were unemployed and looking for work last month, including 101,267 who claimed unemployment benefits during that same time period.

The national unemployment rate for November was 7 percent.