State’s unemployment rate increases

OLYMPIA — Washington state’s unemployment rate increased slightly for the second straight month, even as the state added an estimated 5,300 jobs from July to August, officials with the Employment Security Department announced Wednesday.

The jobless rate for August was 7 percent, up slightly from July’s rate of 6.9 percent. Officials said the increase is a result of a small decline in the total labor force combined with an increase in the number of unemployed people who are actively looking for work.

“Statewide, our steady job growth has decelerated a little in the past couple of months,” said Paul Turek, a labor economist for Employment Security, in a written statement. “That creates less incentive for people to enter or re-enter the labor force, which has slowed progress on our unemployment rate.”

Also, state economists revised July’s job growth numbers Wednesday, subtracting 2,000 jobs to bring the new total to 6,800. With August’s job growth, officials said the state has gained jobs for 11 months.

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.

Industries that saw the largest job gains included government, retail trade and wholesale trade. Sectors that saw decreases include manufacturing, financial activities and professional and business services.

More than 242,000 people were unemployed and looking for work last month, including 102,012 who claimed unemployment benefits during that same time period.

Since August 2012, when Washington state’s unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, the state has gained more than 60,000 jobs.

The national unemployment rate for August was 7.3 percent.

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