WASHINGTON'S LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Washington Unemployment Drops to 8.2 Percent

But unemployed workers may see benefits cut off sooner.

Washington’s job seekers got bitter sweet news from the state’s Employment Security Department in February.  The state added 4,200 jobs, which is good news, but the new jobs are likely to trigger a cut in federal unemployment benefits.

 

The new jobs pushed the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 8.2 percent in February, from 8.4 percent in January. That's the lowest it's been since January 2009, when it was 7.7 percent, according to the state’s Employment Security Department.

 

The top growth sectors were:

 

  • Leisure and hospitality, up 2,500 jobs,  
  • Construction, up 1,900 jobs,
  • Retail trade, up 1,700 jobs,
  • Transportation warehousing and utilities up 1,500 jobs and
  • Professional and business services up 1,100 jobs.

 

As hiring increased, unemployment benefits are slated to decrease, since the two variables are connected, under the federal benefits-extension programs.  

 

Beneficiaries are likely to see their maximum number of weeks on the program drop from 99 to 73 in mid- to late April, according to the Employment Security Department. The same department plans to release more details about the trimming, as it gets official notice from the federal Department of Labor.

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