Washington’s jobs and employment numbers for July contradict each other in the latest figures released Tuesday. Washington gained 5,000 jobs last month. Yet the state’s unemployment rate crept up to 8.5 percent.
The two numbers come from separate surveys. State labor economist Joe Elling says the higher unemployment rate may mean more people are encouraged enough to actively look for work.
“One could take that as a good sign that at the margin we’re getting some people coming back and looking for a job. And here again, on a year ago basis, employment up two percent in the state of Washington, that is an encouraging number.”
But Elling cautions that one month’s figures do not make a trend. Much of Washington’s job growth occurred in service-related industries such as equipment repair, dry cleaning, funeral services and pet care. The state has been losing jobs in the public sector.
In July, nearly 300,000 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work.
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