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Washington unemployment rate rose to 6 percent in October from 5.7 percent in September

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OLYMPIA, Washington — Although the unemployment rate in Washington rose to 6 percent in October from 5.7 percent in September, there's good news in the numbers, a state labor economist said Wednesday.

The size of the state workforce grew by 12,200 as more people started looking for jobs, said Paul Turek, a Washington Employment Security Department economist.

People who weren't considered part of the workforce because they didn't have jobs and weren't looking for them now think they have a chance to find work, he said.

"Prospects are improving, so more people are entering the workforce and beginning to look for jobs," Turek said after the monthly report for October was released. "But there weren't enough jobs to support all the people who are looking."

There is evidence the economic recovery is continuing, he said. The state is adding about 7,000 jobs a month, although the number for October was 5,600.

There were gains in the leisure and hospitality industry, retail trade and manufacturing. Jobs were lost in wholesale trades, education and health services, and government.

Washington's jobless rate in October compares with 6.8 percent in the same month a year ago.

About 3.2 million people in Washington are working, while nearly 209,000 are looking for jobs. About 58,000 are receiving unemployment benefits.

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