Walla Walla County jobless rate falls

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Washington added about 1,000 private-sector jobs in September as the unemployment rate held steady at 9 percent, state officials said Tuesday.

Walla Walla County's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.4 percent in September from August's preliminary 6.7 percent. Columbia County's rate of 9.1 percent for September was closer in line with the state average. Garfield County has a 5.6 percent jobless rate.

Across the state overall payrolls fell by 3,200 jobs as government shed 4,200 jobs, according to the state Department of Employment Security. Officials revised the unemployment rate for August from 8.9 percent to 9 percent.

Dave Wallace, the department's acting chief economist, said last month's figures indicated the job market was in "a holding pattern."

The industries that created more jobs last month were manufacturing, up 900; wholesale trade, 700; financial activities, 600; transportation, warehousing and utilities, 400; retail trade, 200; information, 200; mining and logging, 100; and other services, 100.

Besides government, other sectors that lost jobs last month were professional and business services, down 1,000 jobs; construction, 600; leisure and hospitality, 300; and education and health services, 300.

In the first nine months of this year, Washington saw a net gain of 1,200 jobs. The private sector added 8,800 jobs, but those gains were offset by heavy cutbacks in government jobs, the department said.

Washington had 17,700 fewer jobs in September than it did a year ago, a 0.6 percent decrease, according to Employment Security. The nation recorded 0.3 percent job growth over the same period.

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