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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor

Unemployment In Washington State Hits Four Year Low

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Unemployment has dropped to a four-year low in Washington. The state Employment Department Wednesday released the latest jobless stats. During December, Washington's unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent -- one-tenth of a percentage point lower than the revised rate for November.

The state's chief labor economist, Joe Elling, tempers his enthusiasm though. He says the decline is mostly caused by a shrinking labor force.

"The implication from these numbers is a large increase in the number of people who are dropping out of the labor force because they are discouraged," Elling says. "They have given up their [job] search, at least on a temporary basis."

Oregon released its latest jobless numbers Monday. It's unemployment rate was unchanged last month -- 8.4 percent.

On the Web:

December Employment Report (Washington Employment Security Department)
Oregon Unemployment Rate (Oregon Employment Department)