March unemployment rate in Washington drops to 5.4%

Washington’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.4% last month, and the state added 23,100 jobs, officials announced Tuesday.

The Employment Security Department said that March’s rate was down slightly from February’s 5.6% rate.

Private sector employment increased by 18,600 jobs and government employment increased by 4,500 jobs. Leisure and hospitality, government and education saw the largest gains, and manufacturing was the only sector that saw a downswing, with 200 job losses.

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Two different surveys are used to calculate unemployment figures and job losses and gains. 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. The job gains and losses estimates are based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 6.2% in February to 6% in March.

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