The state unemployment rate in Washington and Oregon was falling at a steady pace in recent years. But lately it's stuck. The latest reading from Washington state released today (Weds.) pegs the state unemployment rate at 5-point-3 percent. That's the same it's been since June. Oregon's jobless rate actually edged up slightly last month to 6.1 percent, as new jobseekers outpaced job creation.

Washington state labor economist Paul Turek says the unemployment rate will probably resume its decline in autumn.

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Some call it the spreadsheet error heard 'round the world. 

The 2010 Reinhart-Rogoff paper, Growth in a Time of Debt, was the most authoritative report providing hard data on why government spending needs to be cut. Too much debt, the study said, impedes economic growth.

But a mistake in coding the Excel spreadsheet skewed the results. Mike Konczal at Business Insider says the spreadsheet mistake is one of three glaring problems in the study.

The whole debacle serves as a prudent reminder to maintain a healthy sense of skepticism about economic statistics.