Office Hours

TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011, 10:17 A.M.

Washington unemployment rate falls

Washington's unemployment rate fell to 9.1 percent in February as employers added a net 800 jobs.

The January unemployment rate was 9.2 percent.

The struggling construction industry added 3,900 jobs during February, best for any sector. The government work force grew by 1,700, mostly in the military and higher education. Leisure and hospitality employment climbed 1,600.

Retail and wholesale trade fell the most, by 1,500 and 1,400 jobs respectively, follwed by financial activities and professional and business services, both off 1,300.

Washington has gained 31,100 private sector jobs since February 2010, while shedding 3,200 government jobs.

About 342,000 were unemployed, 235,000 of whom were collecting unemployment benefits.  

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Bert Caldwell
Bert Caldwell oversees production of the opinion pages, including writing editorials, and editing and selecting letters, columns and cartoons.