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Steady Job Gains Chip Away At Jobless Rate in Washington State

Andreas Klinke Johannsen

Steady job gains are chipping away at the unemployment rate in Washington state.

New numbers released by the Employment Security Department Wednesday show the statewide jobless rate dropped to 6.1 percent in April, down from 6.3 percent in March.

The vast majority of new jobs are being created in the Seattle metro area. In the last reporting month, the jobless rate in 87 percent of Washington counties was higher than the national average.

State labor economist Paul Turek says from this point on in an economic recovery, he would expect the job growth to spread out more beyond greater Seattle.

"If things continue to progress and move along the lines that they have been moving on, then the thinking is that other regions will strengthen as well and participate in the economic gains that are occurring," says Turek.

Oregon saw even bigger job gains in March and April than Washington did. However, the latest numbers from the Oregon Employment Department show the state's jobless rate is still higher than its Northwest neighbors.

The Oregon statewide unemployment rate currently stands at 6.9 percent. The national, seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in April was 6.3 percent.

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.