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Northwest Region Keeps Minting New Jobs At Brisk Pace

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Washington Department of Employment Security
Washington state's unemployment rate held steady in July at 5.3 percent.

The "steady upward climb" in job creation around the Northwest continues this summer.

Washington state recorded nearly 6,000 net new jobs last month according to fresh numbers released by the state’s Employment Security Department Wednesday. The statewide unemployment rate held steady in July at 5.3 percent -- the same as the national rate.

Washington state economist Paul Turek said labor "is just beginning" to shift into tight supply.

"We're starting to see an increase in the number of employers reporting that job openings are getting harder to fill,” he said. “But I think there is still a certain amount of slack left in the labor market before that starts to become more critical.”

Oregon also reported brisk job growth when it released its latest figures Tuesday. Despite the gains in June and July, the statewide unemployment rate jumped from 5.5 percent to 5.9 percent.

An Oregon Employment Department economist attributed much of the increase to an influx of jobseekers such a recent college graduates. Also, some people are voluntarily leaving their current job to look for a better one.

Real estate, construction and retail trade are among the strongest sectors in the Northwest at the moment.

Idaho releases its July employment report on Friday.

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.