OLYMPIA — Washington state's unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent last month, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Employment Security Department.
The newest numbers show that July's jobless rate was down from June's 5.8 percent rate. The state also added an estimated 7,300 jobs from June to July, and June's initial repot of 9,100 jobs gained was revised up to a gain of 13,600 jobs.
"Washington's labor market continues to gain momentum," Paul Turek, an economist with the Employment Security Department, said in a written statement. "Year-over-year, the state saw growth in nearly every industry."
Nearly 93,000 jobs have been added in the state over a one-year period ending in July, officials said, with 12 major industries expanding and just one — manufacturing — decreasing.
The largest job increases in July were seen in professional and business services, which gained 4,500 jobs; leisure and hospitality, which increased by 4,000 jobs; construction, up 2,300 jobs; retail trade, and education and health services, both up 1,100 jobs. Losses were seen in five sectors, including government, which dropped 2,100 jobs, and the transportation, warehousing and utilities industry, which lost 1,700 jobs.
The national unemployment rate for July was 6.2 percent. The unemployment rate in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area dropped to 4.7 percent from June's rate of 4.8 percent.
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.
Nearly 196,0000 people were looking for work in the state, including more than 70,000 who claimed unemployment benefits in June.