Preliminary estimates of the state’s unemployment rate and job numbers in Washington last month are seemingly at odds, similar to the national numbers.
Initial findings indicate the state gained 5,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate rose from 8.3 percent in June to 8.5 percent in July, according to the Washington Employment Security Department. Both figures are subject to future revisions as more data come in.
The rise in the unemployment rate stemmed largely from a 9,700 decline in the total workforce and a small increase in the number of unemployed who are looking for work.
In July 2011, the state’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent. Since then, the total labor force has grown by more than 39,000, and the number of unemployed workers who are actively looking for job has shrunk by about 24,500.
In July, an estimated 298,000 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 139,444 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.
Also in July, 4,212 unemployed workers ran out of unemployment benefits, bringing the total to 105,240 since extended benefits were activated in July 2008.
Grays Harbor held the highest rate statewide of June at 13%, while Pacific County unemployment dropped to 11%.
Southwest Washington showed the highest unemployment numbers for a region with Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, and Lewis Counties all showing numbers 11% and above.
The county by county unemployment rates for July are expected to be released August 21st.