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Unemployment rate falls in May

Some people turn to work shops to help find jobs. (AP File Photo)

Indicators say the economy in Washington may be
recovering, based on new calculations of the state
unemployment rate. The rate fell slightly to 8.1 percent
this month after it was reported at 8.3 percent in March.

The state Employment Security Department is struggling to
explain these numbers, which show that there are fewer
people who are unemployed even though the state had a net
loss of 300 jobs last month.

“Seven sectors expanded, while five contracted. Private
sector was up by 2,000 jobs, whereas government fell by
2,300 jobs,” said the department’s senior economist, Dave
Wallace.

Reporting a lower unemployment rate during a month with
more job losses might be explained by workers who are so
discouraged that they aren’t looking for a job anymore.
People who aren’t actively looking for jobs aren’t counted
in these unemployment numbers.

It has been government jobs that have suffered the most
losses during the recession, as opposed to jobs with
private companies.

“The main sector to lose jobs on an annual basis is
government. It’s been down by 5,600 jobs over the year.
More than half of that came from state government,” says
Wallace.

However, Wallace also says that it would be good to wait
to see what kind of revisions the department might make
before making any assumptions.

In the last few months, there have been many revisions to
the conclusions drawn from hard data. For example,
December job losses were revised from 10,000 jobs lost to
just 100 jobs lost in that month. January numbers were
also corrected to reflect more jobs lost than had
originally been estimated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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