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OLYMPIA, WA-In another signal of a slowing economy, the state’s unemployment rate has jumped in June, a month when it typically dips due to working students home for the summer.

Statewide, the unemployment rate reached 5.7%, up from 5.4% in May. It marked the highest figure for June since 1996. In the Seattle area, the figure was 4.7%, up from 4.2% in May.

“At least part of the increase appears due to weaker job growth than we usually see at this time of year in the trade and services sectors,” says Syliva Mundy, Washington’s employment security commissioner.

Employees are losing jobs from a variety of companies that make up Washington’s economy, but those in the computer and Internet industries have been dealt the hardest blows.

“The reason is simply many more people scrambling after many fewer jobs,” Roberta Pauer, a Seattle-based economist for the Employment Security Department writes in a commentary on the data. “This year, the summer-season student job searchers were swelled by late spring layoffs” in warehousing and manufacturing, technology and communications.

While the numbers are troubling, they do not equate to those posted during the early ’90s slump, when unemployment topped 6%, or during the 1981-82 recession, when it reached 10%.

The seasonally adjusted national rate was up a tenth of a percentage point to 4.5% in June. Economist say the Washington state unemployment rate typically runs above the national rate, in part, because of the state’s large seasonal work force.

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