Washington employers added jobs for the eighth consecutive month in April, bringing the total gain over the last year to 41,500, a Department of Employment Security report said Wednesday.
The gain for April was 5,800, enough to drop the state’s unemployment rate to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent in March.
The national rate was nine percent.
Nine sectors added jobs, led by the hiring of 2,400 in construction. Professional and business services added 1,700 and manufacturing 1,200.
Government shed 2,500 jobs, continuing a trend that began in January. The losses hit every level: federal, state and local.
“I think it’s going to keep going,” said Dave Wallace, acting chief economist, noting that 7,900 government workers have lost their jobs in the last year.
He said the government job loss in April was the largest in the 20 years the department has broken out statistics for the public sector. But the share of government jobs cut in April – 1.2 percent – was not as big as it was during some prior years when government was smaller, he said.
In a statement, department Commissioner Paul Trause said, “We’re beginning to see job growth pick up and some real momentum.
“It’s tough to not feel optimistic about where we are going.”
A county-by-county breakdown of April employment will be released later this month. The March rate for Spokane County was 10.5 percent.