Washington gained 8,800 jobs in July, officials say

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OLYMPIA — The state’s job market showed growth for the 10th month in a row even as the unemployment rate saw a slight increase, officials with the Employment Security Department said Wednesday.

The state added an estimated 8,800 jobs in July, but the month’s unemployment rate of 6.9 percent was up a tenth of a percent from the prior two months.

“The unemployment rate has been pretty flat for the past three months, but we’re continuing to see the kind of solid job growth that will gradually bring down the unemployment rate,” Paul Turek, a labor economist for Employment Security, said in a written statement.

Over the 10 months of growth, the state has an average gain of about 6,000 jobs a month, officials said. Also, state economists revised June’s job growth numbers Wednesday, adding 900 jobs to bring the new total to 10,700 jobs.

Two different surveys are used to calculate unemployment figures and job losses and gains. The unemployment rate represents the percentage of the labor force that’s unemployed and actively looking for work. People who have stopped looking for work are not counted. The job gains and losses estimates are based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.

Industries that saw the biggest job gains last month include education and health services, which gained 6,400 jobs, professional and business services, up 2,100 jobs, and leisure and hospitality, which saw an increase of 1,500 jobs.

Sectors that saw that largest losses were wholesale trade, down 2,100 jobs, government, which lost 1,000 jobs, and construction, which was down 600 jobs.

More than 239,000 people were unemployed and looking for work last month, including 108,214 who claimed unemployment benefits during that same time period.

Since July 2012, when Washington state’s unemployment rate was 8.3 percent, the state has gained nearly 74,000 jobs.

The national unemployment rate for July was of 7.4 percent.

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