Washington state's unemployment rate falls to 7.6 percent in December from 7.7 percent the month before.

 
 

Washington’s estimated unemployment rate reached its lowest point in four years in December, at 7.6 percent, down from a revised seasonally adjusted rate of 7.7 percent in November, according to Washington's Employment Security Department.  The original estimate for November was 7.8 percent.

Here's the rest of the press release:

An Employment Security Department economist cautions that recent declines in the unemployment rate have been due largely to a shrinking labor force, as unemployed job seekers stop looking for work.

The unemployment rate represents the percentage of the labor force that’s unemployed and actively looking for work. People who quit looking for work are not counted as part of the labor force when calculating the unemployment rate.

“Our population is growing and we’ve regained more than half of the jobs lost during the recession, but the number of people in the labor force has been declining,” said Joe Elling, chief labor economist for Employment Security. “When the labor force shrinks, it artificially lowers the unemployment rate.”

The total number of employed and unemployed workers in Washington has fallen 60,000 since employment reached its low point in February 2010, about half of that in the past year. Meanwhile, the total number of jobs has grown by about 115,000 in the past three years, out of a recession loss of about 205,000 jobs.

Preliminary data for December 2012 showed a preliminary, seasonally adjusted drop of 7,900 jobs. But Elling said there was weak response to the employer survey in December, and the number may be revised when late-arriving data are factored in.

Industries with the most estimated job gains in December were construction, up 3,100; leisure and hospitality, up 1,400; education and health services, up 500; and wholesale trade, up 200.

Industries showing the most job losses last month included government, down 4,700 jobs; retail trade, down 4,100 jobs; professional and business services, down 1,900; other services, down 1,500; and manufacturing, down 900.

In December, an estimated 262,500 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That includes 148,264 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.

Also in December, 4,186 unemployed workers ran out of unemployment benefits, bringing the total to 125,627 since extended benefits were activated in July 2008.

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

Winner: Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
 
Legacy Award
Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
Auburn › belshaw-adamatic.com
When it’s time to make doughnuts — or loaves of bread, or sheets of rolls — it could well be a Belshaw Adamatic piece of equipment that’s turning out the baked goods. From a 120,000-square-foot plant in Auburn, Belshaw Adamatic produces the ovens, fryers, conveyors and specialty equipment like jelly injectors used by wholesale and retail bakeries.
 
The firm’s two legacy companies — Belshaw started in 1923, Adamatic in 1962 — combined forces in 2007. Italy’s Ali Group North America is the parent.
 
It it takes work to maintain a legacy. A months-long strike in 2013 damaged morale and forced a leadership change. Frank Chandler was named president and CEO of Belshaw Adamatic in September 2013. The company has since strived to mend workplace relationships while also introducing a stream of new products, such as a convection oven, the BX Eco-touch, with energy saving features and steam injection that can be programmed for precise times in baking. The company energetically describes it as “an oven that saves time, reduces errors, makes an awesome product, and is fun to use and depend on every day!”
 
So far, more than 3,000 have been installed in quick-service restaurants, bakeries, cafés and supermarkets in the United States. They are the legacy of Thomas and Walter Belshaw, former builders of marine engines, who began producing patented manual and automated doughnut-making machines in Seattle 90 years ago. They sold thousands worldwide and, today, Belshaw Adamatic is the nation’s largest maker and distributor of doughnut-making equipment.