Washington’s private sector picked up 3,100 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate fell for the fourth consecutive month, to 8.9 percent, state officials said this morning.
But payrolls overall were down 2,300 in July due to the elimination of an estimated 5,400 government jobs, mostly for the federal census.
In Spokane County, unemployment last month remained unchanged at 8.6 percent, the Employment Security Department reported. That’s also where it stood a year ago.
The state estimated the county’s unemployment stood at 19,840 people in July, about 600 fewer than in June. But the labor force locally also shrunk between June and July, so the jobless rate remained the same.
So far this year, Washington has added 21,100 private-sector jobs. Including government positions, the state has logged a net gain of 19,800 jobs in the past seven months.
“Job growth is still wobbly, but the private sector is showing encouraging signs of life,” Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee said in a prepared statement.
The June unemployment rate was revised upward from 8.9 percent to 9 percent after more analysis.
Industries that added jobs in July were transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 1,000; construction, up 900; education and health services, up 900; retail trade, up 600; wholesale trade, up 500; information, up 300; professional and business services, up 300; and mining and logging, up 200.
In addition to the loss of 5,400 government jobs, manufacturing was down 700 jobs; financial activities was down 500; other services lost 300; and leisure and hospitality was down 100.
An estimated 306,218 people (not seasonally adjusted) in theh state were unemployed and looking for work, and 239,773 people received unemployment benefits from Washington in July.