Statewide unemployment holding steady at 7.5 percent

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in January, according to initial estimates from the state’s Employment Security Department, which keeps unemployment for the Evergreen State unchanged from levels at the end of 2012.

And while the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested in preliminary estimates that Washington had picked up more than 24,000 jobs in January, state economists believe that number is likely to be revised. They noted that the state has not seen that level of monthly job growth in more than 17 years.

Over the last 12 months, the state has seen more than 5,000 new jobs created each month, according to the state’s chief labor economist, Joe Elling.

According to the preliminary report for January, Washington added an estimated 5,500 jobs in the government sector, 4,600 jobs in leisure and hospitality, 4,000 in retail trade, 3,200 in professional and business services, 2,300 in construction, 1,600 in transportation, warehousing and utilities, 1,600 in “other services,” 1,300 in wholesale trade and 700 in manufacturing.

The only industry to lose jobs was the private-sector education and health services industry, down 1,500.

An estimated 261,000 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in January, including 151,345 who claimed unemployment benefits.

Also in January, 3,349 unemployed workers ran out of unemployment benefits, bringing the total to 128,808 since extended benefits were activated in July 2008.

The full report is available here.

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