County jobless rate falls

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WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla County’s unemployment rate appears to have dropped last month, officials announced Tuesday.

Walla Walla County’s jobless rate went from 7.4 percent in August to 6.4 percent in September, according to the state Employment Security Department. That figure was below the statewide unemployment rate of 8.5 percent.

The state’s estimated August 2012 unemployment rate of 8.6 percent was unchanged. The September 2011 unemployment rate was 9.0 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate was at 7.8 percent, the ESD report said.

According to Employment Security Department figures, which were not seasonally adjusted, Walla Walla County had 1,980 unemployed out of a civilian labor force of 30,680 in September. Figures for August showed 2,200 unemployed out of 29,720.

The September unemployment rate for Walla Walla County was the lowest number this year and down significantly from a high of 8.6 percent reported in February. The unemployment rate also was down slightly from September 2011, when the rate was 6.6 percent.

According to the Employment Security Department figures, nonfarm employment in Walla Walla County was at 23,510 jobs, up from 22,960 reported in August. Both figures were not seasonally adjusted.

This year’s figure for nonfarm employment in the county was slightly below 2011, which was 23,810, according to the ESD. Both this year and last year were below 2010, which had 24,110 employed in nonfarm jobs.

According to the monthly labor report, on a seasonally adjusted basis, preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate nonfarm employment in Washington state rose by 1,200 jobs from August 2012 to September 2012. The bureau estimates the private sector declined by 1,500 over the month and the public sector gained 2,700 jobs.

Estimates from September 2011 to September 2012 show a total job gain of 58,500 for the state, according to the federal statistics. During the 12-month period, private employment is estimated to have increased by 53,900, while public sector employment increased by 4,600 jobs.

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