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Washington State Jobless Rate Holds Steady In May

The unemployment rate in Washington state is holding steady at 6.1 percent according to the latest numbers out Wednesday from the state Employment Security Department.

State labor economist Paul Turek said the pace of job gains slowed down in the month of May. But he added that Washington is still on course to record the strongest year of employment growth since the Great Recession.

"You may recall our state was able to reclaim the total number of jobs that were lost to the recession by the beginning of this year," Turek said. "Across the nation that did not happen until this month, so we are a bit ahead of the curve with respect to other states."

Turek said he is encouraged to see construction hiring picking up.

In Oregon, the statewide unemployment rate also held steady last month. On Tuesday, the state's Employment Department pegged its rate at 6.9 percent. The jobless rate in Oregon has hovered around that number since the beginning of the year.

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.