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Washington unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percent

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in nine years, dropping to 4.9 percent last month.

The latest numbers released by the Employment Security Department Wednesday show that February’s rate dropped from January’s rate of 5.1 percent. February’s rate is the lowest the state has seen since March 2008. The state also added 6,100 jobs last month.

“Washington’s economy is moving forward with sustained momentum despite cutbacks in aerospace,” Paul Turek, economist for the department, said in a statement. “The tech market is propelling western Washington, real estate is strong across the state and other economic segments are maintaining.”

The report shows that the highest job growth was in construction and government, followed by professional and business services and leisure and hospitality. Manufacturing saw the biggest reductions last month.

The national unemployment rate was 4.7 percent last month. The unemployment rate in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area was 3.5 percent.

“Washington’s labor market is at or near full employment,” said Turek. “It’s creating pressure to increase wages for some businesses.”

Job gains and losses are estimates based on a survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate counts the percentage of people who are unemployed and actively looking for work, and doesn’t include those who have stopped looking for work.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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