State jobless rate stays at 7.5 percent, 4K jobs added last month

Washington picked up 4,000 jobs in February, while the seasonally adjusted jobless rate stayed at 7.5 percent for the third month in a row, according to recent estimates from the state’s Employment Security Department.

The state has added about 65,000 jobs in the past year, averaging about 5,000 per month. So far, the state has regained about 70 percent of the 205,000 jobs that were lost due to the recession, according to Employment Security.

Recent estimates put the nationwide unemployment rate in February at 7.7 percent.

In Washington state, industries with the most estimated job gains in February were education and health services, up 3,000; manufacturing, up 2,900; professional and business services, up 1,200; wholesale trade, up 600; information, up 400 jobs; other services, up 400 jobs; and government, up 400 jobs.

Industries showing the most job losses last month included construction, down 3,600 jobs; leisure and hospitality, down 1,100; and transportation, warehousing and utilities, down 400.

In February, an estimated 259,100 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 139,900 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.

Also in February, 3,357 unemployed workers ran out of unemployment benefits, bringing the total to 132,165 since extended benefits were activated in July 2008.

County-level estimates for February will be released on March 26.

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