Lower jobless rate means state Employment Security workers face layoffs

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OLYMPIA — Washington’s lower unemployment rate means more jobs in many parts of the economy, but layoffs for the people who help the unemployed.

The state Employment Security Department notified 149 workers Monday they face layoffs this fall. The reason: “The economy is improving and the federal funding is being reduced,” Janelle Guthrie, a department spokeswoman, said.

The department gets about 86 percent of its funding from the federal government, which is cutting back what it sends Washington by $10 million in the coming fiscal year because of declining caseloads. The state’s unemployment rate for July was 5.6 percent, the lowest since August 2008, down from 5.8 percent in June and 7 percent the previous July.

The notices represent slightly less than 10 percent of the department’s work force and went out to people around the state.

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