State unemployment rate drops to seven percent in April

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to an estimated 7 percent in April, the lowest point since December 2008, when the rate was 7.1 percent.

The drop of three-tenths of a point in April follows a decline of two-tenths of a point in March, according to the Washington State Department. All told, the unemployment rate has fallen by half a percentage point since the start of the year.

The state added an estimated 3,800 jobs in April, seasonally adjusted. Economists also revised the March job numbers upward by nearly 4,000 jobs, from a preliminary estimated loss of 5,500 to a loss of 1,600.

“The labor market is continuing to improve at a moderate but accelerating rate, somewhat faster than the nation,” said Scott Bailey, a labor economist for Employment Security.

Industries with the most estimated job gains in April were retail trade, up 3,800; leisure and hospitality, up 1,600; professional and business services, up 1,500; other services, up 600; manufacturing, up 400; and financial activities, up 300 jobs.

Industries showing the most job losses last month included education and health services, down 2,500; construction, down 1,100; transportation, warehousing and utilities, down 500; and wholesale trade, down 300.

So far, Washington has regained about 78 percent (160,100) of the 205,000 jobs it lost during the recession.

In April, an estimated 243,100 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 130,792 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.

Also in April, 3,230 unemployed workers ran out of unemployment benefits, bringing the total to 138,997 since extended benefits were activated in July 2008.

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