Washington's Economy
3:36 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

State's jobless rate drops slightly

Unemployment ticked downward in Washington state in February as hiring picked up. The changes were small, but the job market seems to have “turned the corner,” according to the State's Employment Security department. 

Washington's chief labor economist Dave Wallace, spoke about the fresh data released Tuesday. Wallace says the hard-hit construction industry showed surprisingly strong gains regionally and nationally:

"One of the things to remember about this sector, having been down so far, it’s got a lot of ground to make up. So that might be part of it. It could also be remodeling and foreclosures and so forth, but we really don’t know exactly where it’s coming from."

Wallace says the February unemployment rate in Washington state was 9.1%., which is 0.1% lower than January's revised rate.

In Oregon, where the unemployment rate is higher, the jobless rate dipped 0.2% to settle at 10.2%. The nudge downward makes Oregon’s jobless rate the lowest it has been in two years.