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The Employment Security Department announced today that Washington State has achieved the lowest unemployment rate in five years at 6.6% for December, 2013. Recall that November’s unemployment rate was 6.8%.

From a jobs-gained perspective, our state not only added approximately 4,800 jobs in December, but the November number was also updated to show that the number of jobs lost went from 6,000 down to just 1,600.

Industries that saw the addition of new jobs include professional and business services, private education and health services, other services (such as auto body shops), wholesale trade, construction, leisure and hospitality, and mining and logging. On the flip side, government; manufacturing; information, retail trade; financial activities; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities reported job losses. From a trending perspective, recall from November’s unemployment report that the industries of retail trade, information, and financial activities all had job gains.

In 2013, our state added approximately 41,800 jobs and we have recovered about 83% of the jobs that were lost during the lowest part of the recession. This number is up five percent from November’s report, which estimated the number of jobs reclaimed at 78%.

Curious about when the Employment Security Department releases monthly unemployment rates and other employment information? Statewide numbers for the prior month generally become available in the third week of the new month. The calendar of release dates can be found on the Employment Security Department’s website.

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