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New Data Points Show 'Soft Patch' in Hiring, Slow Overall Growth

Washington state hit a soft patch in hiring and saw slow overall growth, according to two new data points released Wednesday.

Washington state's unemployment rate essentially held steady at 7 percent from August through October. Federal government furloughs delayed the release of the data last month, which resulted in the release of two sets this month.

State labor economist Paul Turek noted an unexpected slowdown in hiring last month, which came at a point in the recovery where he would've expected strengthening.

The state's chief revenue forecaster Steve Lerch separately presented a flat outlook to a legislative panel Wednesday.

"We're at sort of slow, steady growth, whether we are talking about the national economy or the state economy,” Lerch said. “There are all sorts of things out there that raise concerns and mean that there is some uncertainty.”

Lerch said those risk factors include slowdowns in China, dysfunction in Washington, D.C., housing affordability, and ongoing worries about Europe's recovery.

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.