Jobless rates inch upward; news mixed on job creation

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Washington state’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.6 percent in August, and the state saw a net loss of 1,100 jobs from the previous month, officials announced Wednesday.

The numbers released by the Employment Security Department show that the August unemployment rate increased from the July rate of 8.5 percent, the second consecutive month the state has seen an increase. There was some good news in the construction industry, which saw a net gain of 1,900 jobs last month, the most of any sector in the state. Since August 2011, the construction industry has seen a net gain of 3,900 jobs.

The job losses are a turnaround from July, which had seen an estimated gain of 5,900 jobs, a number that was revised up from 5,000 since the last employment report.

South of the state line, Oregon employers created a robust 8,800 jobs in August but the unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.9 percent, according to state figures released Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted job growth numbers are strong, but economists caution that they could change as more data are collected and analyzed. Oregon employers haven’t created 8,800 jobs in one month since November 2005.

August was the sixth consecutive month that payroll employment has grown. Seven of the 10 major private-sector industries posted seasonally adjusted gains of at least 600 jobs, while none showed a loss. Construction employment jumped more than expected, and record-low interest rates led to more work at mortgage brokers.

Some of the private-sector gains were offset by a loss of 400 government jobs.

Altogether, Oregon employers have added a net 23,400 jobs over the past year.

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