LONG BEACH Pacific Countys employment picture continued to brighten this spring, according to the latest report from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
Initial filings for unemployment insurance declined to 113 in May, the lowest total for any month since May 2008. Filings declined from 140 in April.
Ongoing claims by those lacking jobs for longer than a month declined to 277 in May, down from 311 in April and the best for the month since 2008. The number of persons exhausting their eligibility for unemployment compensation saw a slight uptick to 19 for the month from 17 in April.
The countys unemployment rate was 10.4 percent in May, compared to 10.5 percent in April. Washington states overall seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in May, the first time under 7 percent since November 2008, when the rate was 6.5 percent.
The states unemployment rate has fallen by 0.7 percentage points since the start of the year.
Washington states southwest and coastal counties, along with the four rural counties of the states northeast corner, are the primary zones of relatively high joblessness. King County, home to Seattle, has a jobless rate of 4.4 percent, which can almost be considered full employment since a small percentage people are nearly always in transition from one job to another.
Washington state added an estimated 4,100 jobs in May, seasonally adjusted. Meanwhile, economists revised the April job numbers downward by 2,100 jobs, from a preliminary estimated gain of 3,800 to a gain of 1,700.
Washingtons labor market is continuing to recover and expand at a modest rate, said Paul Turek, a labor economist for Employment Security.
Industries with the most estimated job gains in May were government, up 3,200; education and health services, up 2,500; leisure and hospitality, up 1,500; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 600; and retail trade, up 300 jobs.
Industries showing the most job losses last month included other services, down 1,400; manufacturing, down 600; professional and business services, down 500; construction, down 500; wholesale trade, down 400; financial activities, down 300; and information, down 200.
So far, Washington has regained about 79 percent (162,100) of the 205,000 jobs it lost during the recession.