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Number Of Unemployed In Washington At Lowest Level Since Recession Began

Washington state's unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in March.

The recovery from the Great Recession has crossed a milestone in Washington state.

On Wednesday, Washington's Employment Security Department reported the state jobless rate for March was 5.9 percent, down from 6.3 percent in February 2015.

In addition to the sizable drop in the state unemployment rate in March, Washington's chief labor economist Paul Turek said, "The number of persons reported as unemployed also fell significantly this month to its lowest level since before the impact of the recession.”

The monthly government survey counted 209,500 idled workers in Washington. The last time Turek noted a lower number was in September 2008.

The good news on the jobs front is widespread. In the most recent jobs report from Oregon, the state unemployment rate fell below the national average for the first time in 19 years. Oregon's jobless rate stood at 5.4 percent in March, one tick below the national rate of 5.5 percent.

Idaho meanwhile has one of the lowest rates in the entire nation.

That leaves Washington as the only Northwest state with a higher unemployment rate than the nation as a whole.

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.