AP-WA—Jobless Rate, 1st Ld-Writethru,307

Washington jobless rate falls to 9 percent

Eds: Expands with additional information

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s jobless rate has dropped to 9 percent — the lowest since March 2009, according to figures released Thursday by the state Employment Security Department.

The October rate compares with a revised figure of 9.2 percent for September and 9.4 percent in October of last year in the state.

The national jobless rate also is 9 percent.

With 4,600 jobs added in October in Washington, the department says the state has added jobs in 12 of the last 13 months.

A loss of 18,000 jobs reported in September was revised to a loss of 10,700 jobs.

“The October numbers showing slow, steady improvement are more consistent with what we’ve seen for more than a year,” said Dave Wallace, a department economist. “It looks more likely that the September numbers were an anomaly.”

Jobs were added in October in government, wholesale trade, education and health services and manufacturing.

Jobs were lost in professional and business services, transportation, warehousing and utilities, and retail trade.

Altogether, an estimated 314,700 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in October out of a workforce of 3.5 million, the department reported.

Of the jobless, 176,400 received $255 million in unemployment benefits. As of Nov. 5, about 65,000 workers in Washington had run out of all unemployment benefits.

Over the past year, nearly 32,000 jobs have been added in Washington. Manufacturing added 14,900 jobs and the aerospace industry accounted for 8,100 of those, according to the monthly employment report.

Education and health services added 7,100 jobs in the past 12 months, wholesale trade 6,800 jobs and leisure and hospitality 6,500 jobs.

An estimated 8,800 public sector jobs were lost in the past year, more than half at the state level. Local government is down 3,800 jobs.

An estimated 2,500 jobs have been lost in the past year in financial sector, including banks.