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Unemployment Rate Holds Steady In Washington, Dips In Oregon

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Washington Employment Security Department

Washington state's unemployment rate held steady in February at 6.4 percent according to fresh numbers from the state Employment Security Department.

State labor economist Paul Turek says an economy in growth mode is luring discouraged jobseekers off the sidelines and swelling the labor pool.

"The labor market was able to sufficiently absorb the new numbers that entered into the labor force in terms of providing some jobs for them," he says. "So it is positive even though the unemployment rate did not drop and stayed constant."

Turek says Washington employers have added 15,000 jobs statewide over the past three months.

In Oregon, the unemployment rate was pegged below 7 percent for the first time since 2008. New numbers released Tuesday put Oregon's jobless rate at 6.9 percent in February, down one-tenth of a point from January.

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.