Jobless rate, number of jobs fall

More than 2,200 people are unemployed and seeking work in the area, officials say.

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The unemployment rate in Walla Walla County declined to 6.8 percent in June, down from 7.5 percent in May, according to Washington's Employment Security Department figures reported this week.

The percentage continues a trend of monthly employment rates this year being less than they were for the same months in 2011.

Unemployment in June a year ago was 7.4 percent, according to Employment Security, noting the preliminary numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

Even so, Walla Walla County lost 420 non-farm jobs in June, with 350 of those in private education as the summer break hit. Public education lost 110 jobs, according to Employment Security.

Bright spots in Walla Walla County were in construction, which gained 30 jobs. Health care, social assistance, leisure and hospitality grew by 10 jobs.

The county's civilian labor force in June was pegged at 32,600 people, with an estimated 2,230 people unemployed and looking for work.

The statewide unemployment rate for June was 8.2 percent, matching the national jobless rate.

Columbia County unemployment was estimated at 10 percent, down from 10.4 percent in May.

Garfield County posted 7.1 percent unemployment, down from 7.7 percent in May.

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