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Washington's Jobless Rate Dips To Four Year Low

The unemployment rate in the state of Washington is falling again after being stuck in holding pattern for three months. The state Employment Security Department Wednesday pegged the jobless rate at 7.3 percent. That number for March is down .2 percent from February's rate.

State labor economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman says Washington's unemployment rate is at its lowest point in more than four years.

"The unemployment rate has been declining; it peaked in Dec. 2009 at 10.2 percent," Vance-Sherman says. "When we look at the over-the-year numbers, we're seeing growth in every sector statewide -- except for information and financial activities -- at that broad sector level. Growth has been concentrated in the private sector."

Vance-Sherman also says a lot of the recovery as measured by jobs is "concentrated in the Seattle metro area."

Oregon is following roughly the same pattern as Washington. Tuesday, Oregon's Employment Department reported the state's jobless rate dropped .1 percent in March. But it's still the highest among the Northwest states at 8.2 percent.

On the Web:

Monthly employment report - Washington Employment Security Department 

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.