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Washington Unemployment: 8.5 Percent

Washington’s unemployment rate decreased slightly to 8.5 percent in December - the lowest in nearly three years, state officials said Friday.

The November rate had been 8.7 percent. However the Employment Security Department said there was “conflicting data,” clouding the overall picture of the state’s job market. A survey of Washington businesses also showed an estimated job loss of 10,700 from November to December.

Greg Weeks of the State Employment Security Department said there was a lot of volatility in the numbers, but the overall, long-term trend shows jobs gradually increasing.

December’s unemployment rate was the lowest since February 2009, when the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent.

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