LOW UNEMPLOYMENT RATE COULD SHORTEN BENEFITS

The state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 8.2 percent, an improvement that will likely shorten the number of weeks people can receive unemployment benefits.

The new rate for February was down from a revised rate of 8.4 percent in January, the state’s Employment Security Department announced Wednesday. February’s jobless rate is the lowest since January 2009, when it was 7.7 percent.

Officials said that as a result of the improvement, the maximum weeks of unemployment benefits will likely be reduced from 99 down to 73 in April because both of the of the federal benefits-extension programs are triggered by states’ unemployment rates.

County by county unemployment numbers for February are set to be released on March 27th. In January Grays Harbor had the second highest unemployment with 13.8%, while Pacific County had an unemployment rate of 12.7%.

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