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August Washington unemployment rate unchanged at 5.6 percent

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OLYMPIA, Washington — Washington state's unemployment rate remained steady at 5.6 percent last month, but the state saw an overall loss of 1,500 jobs from the previous month, state officials said Wednesday.

The newest numbers released by the state's Employment Security Department show that August's jobless rate did not change from July's numbers. However, unlike previous months where the state had continued to add jobs month to month, numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that seasonally adjusted, nonfarm employment dropped by 1,500 from July to August.

While the private sector added 200 jobs in August, government lost an estimated 1,700 jobs over the month.

"While Washington experienced a slight dip in employment from July to August, the unemployment rate is holding steady and our economy is improving," Paul Turek, an economist with the Employment Security Department, said in a written statement.

Two different surveys are used to calculate unemployment figures and job losses and gains. The unemployment rate represents the percentage of the labor force that is unemployed and actively looking for work. People who have stopped looking for work aren't counted. The job gains and losses estimates are based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.

Turek noted that since last year, Washington state has seen growth in major industries in the state, with the state adding an estimated 82,700 jobs since August 2013.

The national unemployment rate for August was 6.1 percent, and the unemployment rate in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area increased slightly to 4.8 percent from July's 4.7 percent.

Nearly 196,000 people were unemployed and looking for work in the state last month.

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