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Washington Sees 'Soft Patch' In Hiring, Slow Overall Growth

Washington state hit a 'soft patch' in hiring and is looking at slow overall growth. That news comes from two new data points on the Washington economy out Wednesday.

The double dose of state unemployment stats are because federal government furloughs last month delayed economic releases.

Washington state's unemployment rate from August through October essentially held steady at 7 percent. State labor economist Paul Turek noted an unexpected slowdown in hiring last month. It comes at a point in the recovery where he would've expected strengthening.

Separately, the state's chief revenue forecaster presented a flat outlook to a legislative panel Wednesday.

"We're at sort of slow, steady growth - whether we are talking about the national economy or the state economy," said Steve Lerch. "There are all sorts of things out there that raise concerns and mean that there is some uncertainty."

Lerch says those risk factors include slowdowns in China, dysfunction in Washington, DC, housing affordability and ongoing worries about Europe's recovery.

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.