Walla Walla jobless rate still below statewide figure

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After four consecutive months of dropping, Washington state's unemployment rate held at 8.9 percent last month, state officials said Wednesday.

Walla Walla continues to enjoy a lower rate than the state figure. The jobless rate for the month was 6.7 percent, the same as the previous month but higher than the 6.3 percent figure for August 2009.

While the private sector picked up 900 jobs, overall, the state lost 2,000 jobs in August because of the elimination of about 2,900 government jobs since July, when the jobless rate was also 8.9 percent.

The national rate for August was 9.6 percent.

The bulk of the government job losses were federal census jobs. State government dropped 1,100 jobs and local governments lost 200.

Other industries that lost jobs were: transportation, warehousing and utilities; other services; professional and business services; retail trade; and construction. The five sectors lost a combined 1,200 jobs.

Several sectors added jobs, including education and health services, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality. Those three sectors added a total of 1,200 jobs. Information, financial activities and wholesale trade added an additional combined 900 jobs.

Nearly 311,000 people were unemployed and looking for work last month. More than 235,000 people received unemployment benefits from the state.

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