The latest jobs report for Washington state contains a paradox.
It shows strong job growth in the private sector. But at the same time, the state unemployment rate also rose.
Washington's Employment Department today reported a May jobless rate of 8.3%, up slightly from the revised 8.2% rate of April.
State labor economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman said in a conference call that the higher unemployment rate was caused primarily by once-discouraged workers resuming their job hunts. "This could be a good sign. It could mean that people are re-entering the labor market, hence the increase in the number of people counted as unemployed."
Vance-Sherman says the May jobs report also shows government payrolls continue to shrink, offsetting some of the gains in the private sector.
Washington and Oregon now have virtually the same unemployment rates. Tuesday, Oregon reported another month of improvement. Oregon's jobless rate now stands at 8.4%.
Idaho’s unemployment number for May comes out next week. April’s number was 7.7%.