State jobless rate continues to fall, down to 6.8 percent in May

Jun 19, 2013

Washington state's labor market continues to improve slowly, according to the latest unemployment rate released Wednesday. The state's Employment Security Department said the jobless rate for May ticked down two-tenths of a percent from April to land on 6.8 percent.

State labor economist Paul Turek says it's the first time since late 2008 that the unemployment rate stood below 7 percent.

"We've been adding jobs. Employment gains have been made on a fairly steady basis. As of this month then, we have regained about 79 percent of the jobs lost in the recession," Turek said. 

Turek says hiring in the Seattle metro area propels much of the improvement in the state jobless rate. The May unemployment reading for the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area is a tidy 4.7 percent. 

Oregon's statewide jobless rate is one percentage point higher than Washington's, at 7.8 percent. The figure was released Tuesday.