Washington’s jobless rate rose in February

The Bellingham Business Journal

After posting the first job gains in more than a year in January, Washington’s economy dropped an estimated 8,300 jobs in February, according to the Employment Security Department.

Washington’s unemployment rate remained above 9 percent for the seventh straight month, rising up from January’s 9.3 percent to an estimated 9.5 percent in February. The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 9.7 percent.

“We took a couple steps forward in January and one step back in February,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee. “The path into the recession was steep but, as we’re seeing, the climb back out will be more gradual.”

The retail trade industry added another 400 jobs in February, after picking up an estimated 3,000 in January. Other industries that grew in February were financial activities, up 400; and mining and logging, up 300.

But construction shed 3,200 jobs in February after adding 2,700 in January. Other industries that saw declines in February were:
•    Professional and business services, down 2,100
•    Education and health services, down 1,200
•    Government, aerospace products and manufacturing were each down 900 jobs.

Year over year, Washington had 91,700 fewer jobs last month than in February 2009, a 3.2 percent decrease.  Nationally, employment declined by 2.5 percent over the past year.

More than 292,000 people received unemployment benefits from Washington state in February.

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