The unemployment rate in Washington fell to 9.1 percent in January as businesses added 11,000 workers.
The gain, adjusted for seasonality, was the best since November 2007, the Employment Security Department said today.
"It's unusual to have job gains in the middle of winter, so this is another positive sigh that the recovery is under way, department Commissioner Paul Trause said.
The unemployment rate in December was 9.3 percent.
More than one-half the added jobs _ 5,600 _ were in business and professional services. Education and health care was up 4,500, retail trade 1,500, and leisure and hospitality 1,300.
Construction employment continued to fall, losing with 1,500 jobs subtracted in January. Manufacturing trimmed 700 positions, the government and information sectors 600 each.
Figures for each county will be released next week.