State jobless rate down along with job creation

Seasonally adjusted Washington state unemployment fell to 7.3 percent in March, ending three straight months in which the jobless rate was stuck at 7.5 percent, the state Employment Security Department announced Wednesday. The March jobless rate was the lowest since December 2008.

Although the unemployment rate fell last month so did job creation as the state coughed up 5,500 jobs in the February to March period.

Government led the way with 4,600 jobs lost, followed by professional and business services with 2,500 jobs. Industries that showed job gains included education and health services, up 1,800, and manufacturing, up 900.

Employment Security labor economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman told reporters Wednesday during a teleconference not to read too much into the 5,500 jobs lost, saying that although there have been “some bumps in the road,” the overall economic trend is job growth and a falling jobless rate.

National unemployment was 7.6 percent in March.

County jobless rates for March will be released Tuesday.