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Unemployment Rate Down To 7 Percent In Washington State

The unemployment rate in Washington state is down to a flat 7 percent. That news from the state employment department Wednesday. The agency recorded a drop in the jobless rate of 0.1 percent in April.

State labor economist Scott Bailey says that puts Washington's rate at the lowest it's been since the end of 2008. "Overall, we're seeing accelerating growth in terms of jobs compared to say a year ago."

Bailey estimates a net gain of 3,800 jobs statewide last month.

"In the months ahead, we might see pretty good job growth but not so much improvement in the unemployment rate as more people who are on the sidelines jump back into the labor market."

Right now, Bailey's agency counts nearly 250,000 Washingtonians as unemployed and looking for work.

Tuesday, Oregon delivered a similarly upbeat unemployment report. The April jobless rate there dropped two-tenths of a point to land right on eight percent.

On the Web:

April employment report - Washington Employment Security Dept. 
Oregon Unemployment Drops to 8 Percent (May 14, 2013) - OPB

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