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OLYMPIA, WA-Washington State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point to 6.2% in August, according to figures released this week by the state Employment Security Department. The comparable national rate declined by one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.4%. While the total number of seasonally adjusted jobs in the statewide economy fell by 6,800 over the month, all but 300 of that total were expected seasonal layoffs in government and education. Moreover, the decline was more than offset by a stronger than normal July, during which the state add 10,100 net new jobs. Since February, the state has experienced a net gain of 38,700 new jobs. That translates to 1.6% growth over the first seven months of the year, which is ahead of the state’s forecasted recovery trend.Ironically, despite the job gain, unemployment is at the same level as February. The state’s explanation for this is that the resurgent economy has workers who had dropped off the list of unemployed–for not actively looking for work–are now back actively looking for work, which is typical in an economic recovery.Employment in manufacturing increased by 900, with most of that resulting from increased activities in food manufacturing, according to the employment report. Construction employment rose by 3,700 as the building industry moved to its seasonal high. Employment rose by 2,100 in the leisure and hospitality industries due to increased seasonal and weather-related activities, though less than last year. Likewise, employment services added 1,800 workers over the month, which was 1,300 less than were added last year between July and August. Retail trade had an over-the-month increase of 700 workers. Since August 2003, nonagricultural employment has gained 50,700 jobs.

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