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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

March 19, 2014 at 10:45 AM

State unemployment stays at 6.4 percent in February

But that’s not necessarily bad news. Washington added 2,500 net new jobs, according to preliminary data. January’s numbers were revised upward by 2,000 to a total of 5,800. Perhaps best of all, the labor force rose by 10,000 compared with the previous month.

It is too early to tell if that marks a turnaround or stabilization in the labor-force participation rate, but it is a hopeful sign. It could mean that at least some discouraged workers are re-entering the labor market. Still, much caution is in order. Year-over-year, the statewide labor force was 8,600 lower.

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett’s unemployment rate fell by one-tenth of a point to 5.1 percent compared with January. The resident labor force grew by 26,100. The largest metro is the state’s essential jobs engine. (You can read the entire report here).

The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 6.7 percent.

For the year ending in February, the state gained 54,400 jobs. On the other hand, for the month 219,700 people were unemployed and actively looking for work. This includes 79,200 in metro Seattle.

The month’s big gainers: professional and business services, up 2,200 jobs; retail, 1,700; financial “largely in mortgage servicing and insurance,” 1,000; manufacturing, 500, and information 300. Government gained 600, an improvement over the steady drag of losses in public-sector jobs. Private education and health services lost 2,100 jobs and construction shed 600.

And Don’t Miss: The most important economic chart | House of Debt.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Toyota settles

Next up on the line: GM

It’s auto payment

Comments | More in | Topics: unemployment

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