By Rachel La Corte Associated Press
OLYMPIA — Washington state saw continued job growth last month, but state officials said Wednesday that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3 percent.
According to numbers released by the state Employment Security Department, there was an estimated net gain of 10,200 jobs from May to June, with the biggest growth in professional and business services, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality.
“We’re gradually building momentum on the job front,” Mark Berreth, a labor economist with Employment Security, said in a written statement. “We’ve now regained more than half the number of jobs we lost during the recession.”
The state lost about 205,000 jobs from when employment peaked in February 2008 to the low point in February 2010. With June’s numbers, the state has seen a net gain of about 111,400 jobs since February 2010. All the gains have been in private-sector jobs: with 123,600 gained during that period, while the public sector has seen a loss of 12,200.
Four industries saw a loss of jobs in June, including education and health services, government, financial activities, and construction.
The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the estimated number of unemployed who have sought work within the past four weeks by the state’s total civilian labor force.
An estimated 293,200 people were unemployed and looking for work in Washington state in June. Nearly 145,000 claimed unemployment benefits last month.
More than 4,500 unemployed workers ran out of unemployment benefits last month. Since extended benefits were activated in July 2008, more than 101,000 people have exhausted their benefits.