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OLYMPIA, WA-The state’s unemployment rate dipped just one-tenth of one percentage point to 5.5% in September, according to the state’s Employment Security Department Commissioner Sylvia Mundy.When adjusted for seasonal changes, Washington’s rate rose one-tenth of one percentage point to 6.1%. Comparatively, the seasonally adjusted national rate remained unchanged at 4.9% in September.

“The effects of September 11 were not fully captured in our state’s labor market data,” Mundy said in a news release. “The October data, however, is expected to reveal the unfolding effects of its aftermath, particularly at the national level.”

Washington’s total nonfarm wage and salary employment grew 16,100 or 0.6% in September, matching the growth rate from the same period last year. Government (+18,400) and services (+3,200) were the strongest performers. Government gains were primarily driven by a 17,500 increase in state and local education as the school year got underway.

Services was buoyed by gains in virtually all sectors, particularly in private educational services (+4,400),health services (+700), and business services (+600). Hotels and lodging, however, was down 1,200.Construction was down 400 with most of that loss coming from special trade contracting. Transportation, communications and utilities was up 700. Finance, insurance and real estate was down 300, almost all on the finance side (-400).

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