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Report: Washington state unemployment rate hits new low

(File, Associated Press)

Washington state’s unemployment rate hit a new low, according to the latest numbers.

Data from the State’s Employment Security Department shows Washington added nearly 11,000 workers in December. About a third of the jobs came from retail.

That tipped the jobless rate down slightly to 4.3 percent, the lowest in the state’s recorded history. The national unemployment rate in December 2019 was 3.5 percent.

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“Washington’s labor market finished the year with a flourish” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The state unemployment rate fell to its lowest level ever based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics historical records dating to 1976.”

The state labor force in December was 3,956,800, an uptick of 16,700 people over the previous month, with the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region adding 5,900 over the same period.

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Retail added the most news jobs with 3,300, followed by business services up 2,600 jobs, construction up 1,200 job, and government and manufacturing both up 1,100 jobs.

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