Aug 19, 4:40 PM EDT

Washington unemployment rate steady at 5.3 percent in July



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Washington state's unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in July, holding even with the national jobless rate, state officials said Wednesday.

The latest report from the state's Employment Security Department shows that the jobless rate was unchanged from June, and that the private sector gained 5,900 jobs from June to July.

The jobless rate in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett region of western Washington was 3.7 percent, down from 3.8 percent in June.

"Washington's economy continues on a positive track," state labor economist Paul Turek said in a written statement.

The financial activities sector saw the largest gains from June to July, with an increase of 2,600 jobs, followed by retail trade, which gained 1,700 jobs, and then leisure and hospitality, with 1,500 jobs. Other industries that saw increases include: transportation, warehousing and utilities; construction; manufacturing; information; and mining and logging. Four industries saw decreases: wholesale trade lost 1,800 jobs in July, government lost 1,100, education and health services lost 300, and other services lost 100.

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 estimates of job gains and losses are based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.

Since last year, Washington state has seen growth in major industries, adding an estimated 108,600 jobs since July 2014, with 101,200 of those jobs in the private sector and 7,400 in the public sector.

The number of people unemployed in July was 188,600 in July, and 55,891 people received unemployment benefits last month.

The national unemployment rate for July was also 5.3 percent.

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The headline of this story has been corrected to show the unemployment rate is 5.3 percent, not 5.5 percent.

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