Washington's unemployment rate at 6.3 percent in March

Washington’s job picture continues to show signs of improvement, according to a new report from the state’s Employment Security Department.

The state’s unemployment rate in March is estimated at 6.3 percent, equaling the rate from February, which was revised downward from an initial estimate of 6.4 percent.

Washington added an estimated 6,700 new jobs in March, according to the report. The March job gains followed additions of 5,800 new positions each during January and February. Economists recently revised an earlier estimate of 2,500 new jobs for February, adding 3,300 positions.

“We’re getting job creation, but it’s not gang-busters job creation,” said Paul Turek, a labor economist with the Employment Security Department, in a news release.

The biggest job increases in March were in the professional and business services, which added an estimated 3,100 jobs. Of those, 2,600 were in administrative and support services, meaning office workers, with 1,400 working for temporary employment agencies.

March also saw a boost of 2,200 jobs in manufacturing, with 1,700 of those making durable goods, meaning products designed to last more than one year. Among those were 400 jobs for fabricated-metal workers.

In the retail sector, the number of jobs increased by 1,800, mostly in online retailing.

Other sectors that reported increased hiring in March included private education and health services, up 1,700 jobs; construction, up 1,600 jobs; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 1,000; leisure and hospitality, up 800; and information, up 200 jobs.

The state’s total labor force of nearly 3.5 million expanded by about 9,500.

Sectors reporting the most job losses were government, down 1,800, largely in state government and public education; wholesale trade, also down 1,800 jobs; financial activities, primarily lending and insurance, down 1,100; and other services, down 1,000.

In March, an estimated 219,700 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 93,661 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.

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