- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington state’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.3 percent last month, but the state still saw an overall gain of 10,100 new jobs, state officials said Wednesday.

The latest report from the state’s Employment Security Department shows that the state’s private sector grew by 8,800 jobs and the public sector gained 1,300 jobs. November’s 5.3 percent jobless rate ticked up from October’s rate of 5.2 percent.

“All in all, Washington enjoyed strong job growth this month, demonstrating continued optimism in the marketplace,” Paul Turek, the state’s labor economist, 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.

The state has added an estimated 77,500 jobs since November 2014, with 67,900 of those jobs in the private sector and 9,600 in the public sector.

The jobless rate in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett region of western Washington rose slightly to 4.2 percent in November, from 3.8 percent in October. The national unemployment rate remained the same as the previous month, at 5 percent.

Overall, seven industries in the state expanded last month, five contracted, and one, mining and logging, was unchanged.

Professional and business services saw the biggest increase, up 3,600 jobs, with most of those gains occurring in administrative and support services. Other industries that saw significant increases were: construction, up 3,100 jobs; leisure and hospitality, up 2,700 jobs; government, up 1,300; retail trade, up 1,100, transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 1,000; and wholesale trade, up 800.

The sector that saw the biggest loss was other services, which decreased 1,600 jobs. Education and health services dipped 1,400 jobs. Financial activities, manufacturing and information sectors also saw losses ranging from 100 to 300 jobs.

More than 185,000 people statewide were unemployed and actively looking for work in November, and 67,710 people received unemployment benefits last month.

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