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Washington unemployment rate fell to 6% as employment showed slight recovery in October

This photo shows the headquarters of Washington's Employment Security Department in Olympia. The state's  unemployment rate dropped to 6% in October as more private sector jobs were added to the state's economy.   (Associated Press)
This photo shows the headquarters of Washington's Employment Security Department in Olympia. The state's  unemployment rate dropped to 6% in October as more private sector jobs were added to the state's economy.  (Associated Press)

Washington’s unemployment rate dropped to 6% as more jobs were added to the state economy in October, according to the Employment Security Department’s monthly employment report released Wednesday.

Private sector employment increased by 14,100 jobs, while government employment decreased by 13,100 jobs in October. The professional and business services sector saw the greatest number of job gains with 4,800 new hires, followed by retail trade with 4,100, according to an ESD news release.

The state’s October unemployment rate was a decrease from the prior month’s jobless rate of 8.3%, which was seasonally adjusted from a previously reported rate of 8.4%

September’s preliminary gain of 2,400 jobs was also revised to 23,800, the department added.

“The preliminary read on October payroll employment shows a very small increase once more,” Paul Turek, economist for the department, said in a statement. “Upward revisions to the data in recent months show a stronger recovery, but renewed restrictions on business operations in response to mounting virus risk put the recovery in jeopardy.”

The state’s labor force – which is the total number of unemployed and employed people over the age of 16 – increased by 60,700 in October.

The department paid jobless benefits to 453,798 people last month, a decrease of 99,489 compared with September.

Washington lost an estimated 173,200 jobs from October 2019 to October 2020, according to non-seasonally adjusted data from the ESD.

The three industry sectors with the greatest number of year-over-year job losses were leisure and hospitality, which shed 70,600 jobs; government, which lost 41,200 jobs; and manufacturing, down 26,600 jobs.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in October, compared with 7.9% a month prior, according to the ESD.

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