State unemployment rate up, local numbers down

The Bellingham Business Journal

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 9.3 percent in October, from a revised rate of 9.1 percent in September, according to the state Employment Security Department. Locally, Bellingham’s October unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.4 percent from 7.7 percent in September.

The estimated state unemployment rate for September had earlier been reported as 9.3 percent, but that rate was revised downward after more analysis. The previously estimated job loss of 16,000 in September also was revised to 11,100.

Year over year, Washington had 120,000 fewer jobs last month than in October 2008, a 4.1 percent decrease.  Nationally, employment declined by 4 percent over the past year.

Leisure and hospitality was the industry with the largest decline in October, down about 2,900 jobs. Other industries that showed job declines in October were manufacturing, down 2,300; retail trade, down 1,400; aerospace product and parts manufacturing, down 700. Three other industries – transportation, warehousing and utilities, professional business services, and construction – each dropped about 600 jobs.

The biggest October jump came in the government sector, up about 900 jobs. Other industries that gained jobs were information, up 700; financial activities, up 600; education and health services, up 200; and wholesale trade, up 200.

An estimated 310,984 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in October. Nearly 229,000 people received unemployment benefits from Washington state that month.

Unemployed workers can inquire about assessment and training opportunities that are available through their local WorkSource career centers.

Employment Security is a partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which offers a variety of employment and training services, including free help with interviewing skills or résumés and with job referrals.

Locations of local WorkSource offices and more than 13,300 job openings are listed online at  Assistance also is available by phone at 877-872-5627.

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