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Media contact: Jamie Swift, Communications manager, 360-902-0904

OLYMPIA– After posting the first job gains in more than a year in January, Washington’s economy dropped an estimated 8,300 jobs in February.  Washington’s unemployment rate remained above 9 percent for the 7th straight month, rising up from January’s 9.3 percent to an estimated 9.5 percent in February. The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 9.7 percent. 

“We took a couple steps forward in January and one step back in February,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee. “The path into the recession was steep but, as we’re seeing, the climb back out will be more gradual.”

The retail trade industry added another 400 jobs in February, after picking up an estimated 3,000 in January. Other industries that grew in February were financial activities, up 400; and mining and logging, up 300.

Construction shed 3,200 jobs in February after adding 2,700 in January. Other industries that saw declines in February were professional and business services, down 2,100; education and health services, down 1,200; government, down 900; aerospace product and parts manufacturing, down 900; manufacturing, down 900; transportation, warehousing and utilities, down 500; information, down 300; leisure and hospitality, down 200; and other services, down 100.

Year over year, Washington had 91,700 fewer jobs last month than in February 2009, a 3.2 percent decrease.  Nationally, employment declined by 2.5 percent over the past year.

An estimated 365,661 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in February. More than 292,000 people received unemployment benefits from Washington state in February.

Unemployed workers can inquire about assessment and training opportunities that are available through their local WorkSource career centers. 

Employment Security is a partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which offers a variety of employment and training services, including free help with interviewing skills, résumés, and job referrals. 

Locations of local WorkSource offices are listed online at www.go2worksource.com.  Assistance also is available by phone at 877-872-5627.  

In addition, more than 17,000 job openings are posted on www.go2worksource.com.


Broadcast version

After posting the first job gains in more than a year in January, Washington’s economy dropped an estimated 83-hundred jobs in February.

The state unemployment rate increased to nine-point-five percent – a slight increase over January’s nine-point-three percent. 

Although the state plunged into the recession very quickly, Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee said that the climb back out will be more gradual.