2011 begins with big job gains

Washington’s unemployment rate dipped from 9.3 percent in December to 9.1 percent in January, backed by the strongest month of job growth in more than three years.

The state added an estimated 11,000 jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. It’s the largest monthly gain since November 2007, the month before the national recession began. Local numbers for January will be available March 8.

“It’s unusual to have job gains in the middle of winter, so this is another positive sign that the recovery is under way,” said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause.

Industries that added jobs in January were professional and business services, up 5,600; education and health services, up 4,500; retail trade, up 1,500; [[leisure and hospitality, up 1,300; financial activities, up 1,200; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 800; and mining and logging, up 100.

Jobs were lost in construction, down 1,500; manufacturing, down 700; information, down 600; government, down 600; other services, down 500; and wholesale trade, down 100.

Since the beginning of 2010, Washington has added an estimated 20,500 jobs.

An estimated 321,400 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in January — that’s about 7,100 fewer unemployed job seekers than in December 2010.

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