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WASHINGTON STATE EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT SAYS SLOW JOB GAINS PUSH UP UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN MARCH

 WASHINGTON STATE EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT SAYS
 SLOW JOB GAINS PUSH UP UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN MARCH
 OLYMPIA, Wash., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Slow employment growth raised Washington's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate by two-tenths of a percentage point in March to 7.7 percent, the highest rate in five years, the Washington State Employment Security Department reported today.
 "Weak economic growth during the past 12 to 18 months has not kept up with the inflow of new workers," Employment Security Commissioner Vernon E. Stoner said. "The result has been an increase in the unemployment rate by half a percentage point in the first quarter and nearly two percentage points over the past 12 months, even though total wage and salary employment rose."
 The 7.7 percent March rate in Washington stood four-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate of 7.3 percent, marking the third month in a row the state's jobless rate exceeded the nation's. Nonfarm wage and salary employment in the state inched higher by 11,000 workers in March - the smallest increment for the month since the collapse in employment at The Boeing Company in 1971. The average increase for March over the past 10 years was roughly 20,000.
 "Typically, the services and trade sectors expand with the beginning of spring," according to Dennis Fusco, chief economist for the department. "This year we entered March at a higher than usual base because mild winter weather led to fewer layoffs. In addition, employers have generally remained cautious in hiring despite some early signs of improvement in the economy."
 Manufacturing payrolls were flat over the month. Small gains in forest products (+300) were basically offset by losses in aerospace (-300). Little change occurred elsewhere in the primary goods- producing sectors. Both aircraft and shipbuilding have lost 1,300 workers since the first of the year owing largely to defense cutbacks. Seasonal increases in March boosted construction employment by 1,600 workers.
 Services (+3,500) and trade (+2,600) accounted for most of the month-to-month pickup. These sectors traditionally lead the economy at this time of year. And while the overall pace was more restrained than usual, good growth took place at nursery and building supplies (+1,100), business and social services (+1,300) and eating and drinking establishments (+1,900). Department store employment dropped by 500.
 Year-to-year, Washington's nonfarm wage and salary employment was up 31,600 workers in the latest month. Services (+17,700) and government (+15,500) have accounted for the bulk of the growth, with lesser gains in wholesale and retail trade (+2,500). Construction has been flat and manufacturing lost 5,800 workers over the past year centered principally in transportation equipment (-3,300) and heavy machinery (-1,300) production.
 Washington State Employment Security Department
 Labor Market and Economic Analysis Branch
 RESIDENT LABOR FORCE AND EMPLOYMENT
 IN WASHINGTON STATE AND LABOR FORCE MARKET AREAS
 (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
 MARCH 1992 PRELIMINARY /A
 Unemploy- Unemp.
 Labor Force Employment ment Rate
 Washington State Total 2,523,400 2,313,900 209,500 8.3
 Bellingham MSA 70,100 64,100 6,000 8.6
 Bremerton MSA 85,800 80,000 5,800 6.8
 Olympia MSA 88,500 82,200 6,300 7.1
 Seattle PMSA 1,117,400 1,044,500 72,900 6.5
 King County B/ 880,600 825,300 55,300 6.3
 Snohomish County B/ 236,900 219,300 17,600 7.4
 Spokane MSA 175,900 162,100 13,800 7.8
 Tacoma PMSA 262,500 240,500 22,000 8.4
 Tri-Cities MSA 76,400 68,900 7,500 9.8
 Benton County B/ 58,800 54,000 4,800 8.2
 Franklin County B/ 17,800 15,000 2,800 15.7
 Vancouver PMSA 128,500 117,500 11,000 8.6
 Yakima MSA 100,600 85,200 15,400 15.3
 Adams 7,500 6,170 1,330 17.7
 Asotin 9,670 9,040 630 6.5
 Clallam 24,500 22,000 2,500 10.2
 Columbia 1,600 1,280 320 20.0
 Cowlitz 38,830 34,490 4,340 11.2
 Ferry 3,320 2,730 590 17.8
 Garfield 1,030 950 80 7.8
 Grant 28,240 24,540 3,700 13.1
 Grays Harbor 26,480 23,080 3,400 12.8
 Island 23,000 21,450 1,550 6.7
 Jefferson 8,920 8,030 890 10.0
 Kittitas 13,590 11,380 2,210 16.3
 Klickitat 7,890 6,440 1,450 18.4
 Lewis 26,370 23,100 3,270 12.4
 Lincoln 4,070 3,740 330 8.1
 Mason 15,140 13,680 1,460 9.6
 Okanogan 17,550 14,760 2,790 15.9
 Pacific 8,080 7,180 900 11.1
 Pend Oreille 3,470 2,780 690 19.9
 San Juan 6,190 5,720 470 7.6
 Skagit 41,820 37,050 4,770 11.4
 Skamania 2,280 1,640 640 28.1
 Stevens 11,910 9,810 2,100 17.6
 Wahkiakum 1,220 1,090 130 10.7
 Walla Walla 23,140 20,790 2,350 10.2
 Wenatchee Labor Area 43,240 37,910 5,330 12.3
 Chelan County B/ 29,090 25,130 3,960 13.6
 Douglas County B/ 14,150 12,780 1,370 9.7
 Whitman 18,730 18,060 670 3.6
 A/ Official U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
 B/ Estimates are determined by using the Population/Claims Share disaggregation methodology.
 Note: Detail may not add due to rounding.
 -0- 5/5/92
 /CONTACT: Dennis Fusco, 206-438-4820, or Michael Wilson, 206-753-5216, both of the Washington State Employment Security Department/ CO: Washington State Employment Security Department ST: Washington IN: SU:


SC -- SE004 -- 6820 05/05/92 18:01 EDT
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Date:May 5, 1992
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