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Unemployment Rate Staying 'Pretty Flat' In Washington State

Andreas Klinke Johannsen

Washington's statewide unemployment rate is staying "pretty flat" this summer according to a state labor economist. A fresh jobs report released Wednesday shows the unemployment rate ticked up a tiny bit to 6.9 percent in July, from 6.8 percent in June.

But state economist Paul Turek says he puts more stock in a different number from the monthly jobs report. He says the number of new jobs created last month continues to expand at a "decent" pace.

"We're seeing some evidence of business firms becoming more confident and a little less cautious in their hiring," says Turek. "The private sector continues to lead the way as far as hiring is concerned. Government is still facing some downward pressure."

The state employment department says a lot of the job growth is still centered in the Seattle area.

The latest figures from Oregon also show a slight uptick in the overall jobless rate. It was the first time this year the state's jobless rate went up instead of down. The Oregon unemployment rate for July stood at an even 8 percent.

On the Web:

Monthly Employment Report- Wash. State Department of Employment Security 
Oregon's Unemployment Rate Increases To Eight Percent - 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.