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Jobless Rate Drops To 4.1% October Level Is Lowest For Month In 29 Years

Wed., Nov. 26, 1997, midnight

Bucking the trend of job losses in autumn, Washington state’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.3 percent to 4.1 percent in October, the lowest rate for the month in 29 years, state officials said Tuesday.

State Employment Security Commissioner Carver Gayton said net employment gains were the strongest for October in 12 years.

Nonfarm wage and salary employment increased by 5,800 workers due to lower-than-normal seasonal declines and heavy hiring in aircraft and parts, said Dennis Fusco, the agency’s chief economist.

The increase is sharply at odds with the average 11,000-worker drop for the month in the previous eight years, Fusco said.

In Spokane, the jobless rate was 3.8 percent.

Seasonally adjusted, the jobless rate fell sharply from 5.3 percent to 4.4 percent, slightly below the national average of 4.7 percent and a 24-year low.

Manufacturing payrolls held firm. The loss of 800 seasonal jobs in forest products and food processing was offset by the hiring of 1,300 in aircraft and parts.

Construction employment dropped by 2,500.

Wholesale and retail trade inched lower by 1,400. Dining establishments lost 3,200 jobs, but fall sales boosted employment in general merchandising and apparel by 1,700.

Services payrolls fell by 4,800, led by large cuts in amusement and hotels. Business services added 900 workers, and health care dropped by 300. Public and private education jumped by 28,400 with the opening of schools for the fall term.

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