Washington unemployment rate rises to 9.4 percent - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington unemployment rate rises to 9.4 percent

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington's unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent in May, tying the U.S. unemployment rate, according to the state Employment Security Department.

The largest monthly declines were in construction, which lost 3,100 jobs; information, down 1,300; financial activities, down 1,100; and government, down 1,200 jobs.

The state lost 116,000 jobs from May 2008 to May 2009, a 3.9 percent decrease. Nationally, employment declined by 3.9 percent over the past year.

"The economic numbers are volatile right now, and at times contradictory," said Dr. Greg Weeks, who heads Employment Security's labor-market information office. "The recession has been deep and wide, and we're likely to see ups and downs for awhile."

The industry sector with a significant increase was leisure and hospitality, which added 1,600 jobs.

An estimated 327,430 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in May, with about 215,218 receiving unemployment benefits.

Laid-off workers can apply for unemployment benefits online or call 1-800-318-6022.

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