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Unemployment Rate Holds Steady In August In Washington State

The latest reading on unemployment in Washington state shows the rate holding steady in August at 5.6 percent. That's half a percentage point below the national rate according to a report from Washington's employment department Wednesday.

State labor economist Paul Turek said improving economic conditions bode well for job seekers going into fall.

"I don't think we're at a point where everyone can say that the labor market is great, but it is nearing that area where we could maybe call it fairly good,” he said.

Turek noted some end-of-summer weakness in construction and government employment. But he said overall "in terms of job creation, this year is still shaping up to be the best statewide since 2005."

Washington's unemployment rate is now considerably better than Oregon's, where the jobless rate inched up last month to 7.2 percent. An Oregon state economist notes that people are presently re-entering the labor force or moving to Oregon faster than new jobs can be created for them.

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.