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With Jobless Rate Holding Steady, 2014 On Track To Be 'Best Statewide Since 2005'

Elaine Thompson
/
AP Photo
FILE - In this March 1, 2011 photo, Mariam Bario, recently relocated to Seattle from Kenya, fills out an application with others at a job fair, in SeaTac, Washington.

Washington state’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.6 percent in August — a half-percentage point below the national rate, according to a report released Wednesday by the state’s Employment Security Department.

State labor economist Paul Turek said improving economic conditions bode well for job seekers going into fall.

"I don't think we're at a point where everyone can say that the labor market is great, but it is nearing that area where we could maybe call it fairly good,” he said.

Turek noted some end-of-summer weakness in construction and government employment, but overall, he said, "in terms of job creation, this year is still shaping up to be the best statewide since 2005." 

Washington's unemployment rate is now considerably better than Oregon's, where the jobless rate inched up last month to 7.2 percent. An Oregon state economist notes that people are presently reentering the labor force or moving to Oregon faster than new jobs can be created for them.

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.