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May losses disrupt state job growth

OLYMPIA – Eight consecutive months of Washington employment growth came to an end in May as the state recorded hundreds of lost jobs amid concerns that its fragile economic recovery could stall, officials said Wednesday.

The Employment Security Commission pegged Washington’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate at 9.1 percent, down from a revised April rate of 9.2 percent.

The state hasn’t seen the unemployment rate at 9 percent or below in more than two years.

Dave Wallace, the department’s acting chief economist, said he was disappointed by the numbers, especially since they came just one month after the same jobs report showed growth in a broad range of sectors.

Wallace said the direction of gas and commodity prices could impact the state’s economy along with international influences such as the ongoing financial crisis in Europe and an economic slowdown in China.