Wash. unemployment rate up slightly to 9.3 percent

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2009 3:15 PM

Washington's unemployment rate increased slightly to 9.3 percent in October from the revised September rate of 9.1 percent, state officials said Tuesday.

More than 310,000 people were unemployed and looking for work last month, according to the state Employment Security Department.

September's unemployment rate had been initially reported as 9.3 percent, but it was lowered after further analysis.

The state lost an estimated 5,100 nonagricultural jobs in October, and the state's pool of jobs shrunk by 120,000 from a year earlier, a decrease of 4.1 percent. Nationally, employment declined by 4 percent over the past year.

The largest decline was in leisure and hospitality, which lost 2,900 jobs last month. Other industries that lost jobs in October were manufacturing, down 2,300 jobs; retail trade, down 1,400; and aerospace product and parts manufacturing, down 700. Transportation, warehousing and utilities; professional business services; and construction each lost about 600 jobs.

Some industries saw gains in October, the biggest in government, which was up about 900 jobs. Other industries that gained jobs were: information, up 700; financial activities, up 600; and education and health services, and wholesale trade, both up 200.

Washington's unemployment rate remains lower than the national figure, which was 10.2 percent in October.

The highest unemployment rate in the state in October was 13.7 percent in Clark County in southwestern Washington. Across the mountains in Eastern Washington, Whitman County has the state's lowest at 4.4 percent. The state's largest county, King, had an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent.