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WASHINGTON STATE UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS SHARPLY IN APRIL

 WASHINGTON STATE UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS SHARPLY IN APRIL
 OLYMPIA, Wash., June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington's seasonally


adjusted unemployment rate plunged sharply in April from 7.8 percent to 6.8 percent -- the most significant drop in two years, Employment Security Commissioner Vernon Stoner announced today.
 The Employment Security Department attributed the decrease in the rate to the cumulative effects of an improving economy and mild weather which spurred earlier than usual agricultural hiring. Those two factors dropped unemployment to the lowest rate in five months.
 "Unemployment had been inching steadily higher since mid-1990," Stoner said. "Overall, we see this shift as a positive sign for the state's economy, but we need to be cautious about a large one-month improvement that might not hold."
 The full percentage point drop put Washington below the national average for the first time since December. The national rate fell from 7.3 percent in March to 7.2 percent in April.
 Nonfarm wage and salary employment increased by 13,800 workers to 2,180,000. Seasonal gains pushed up activity in construction (+4,800), services (+3,600), and trade (+5,800) by amounts equal to or greater than a year before. Some of the largest pickup came in business services (+1,300) and general building construction (+1,200).
 Dennis Fusco, chief economist for the department, said manufacturing payrolls were boosted by 2,400 workers. An early asparagus crop contributed heavily to a 2,800-worker gain in food processing. Other expanding sectors included textiles and apparel (+200), printing and publishing (+200), and transportation equipment other than aerospace (+300). Lumber and wood products showed little change, while aerospace served to provide the single most drag on the economy with payrolls dropping 1,200.
 "Over the past 12 months, nonfarm wage and salary employment rose by 30,500 workers," Fusco added. "The year-to-year job increase has improved in recent months since it stood at 17,000 in December."
 Losses in manufacturing (-2,800) have been confined largely to recent downturns in aerospace (2,600), industrial machinery (-1,100), and primary metals (-700). The balance of the economy has shown gains. Services (+18,100) and government (+10,700) have accounted for the bulk of the state's annual job growth, with construction (+800) and trade (+1,800) also running higher than a year ago.
 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)
 APRIL 1992 PRELIMINARY /A
 Unemploy- Unemp.
 Labor Force Employment ment Rate
 Washington State Total 2,598,800 2,420,300 178,500 6.9
 Bellingham MSA 73,100 67,900 5,200 7.1
 Bremerton MSA 88,600 83,400 5,200 5.9
 Olympia MSA 90,700 85,000 5,700 6.3
 Seattle PMSA 1,149,000 1,084,700 64,300 5.6
 King County B/ 906,000 857,000 49,000 5.4
 Snohomish County B/ 243,000 227,700 15,300 6.3
 Spokane MSA 182,100 171,000 11,100 6.1
 Tacoma PMSA 266,900 247,800 19,100 7.2
 Tri-Cities MSA 81,600 75,900 5,700 7.0
 Benton County B/ 63,200 59,400 3,800 6.0
 Franklin County B/ 18,400 16,500 1,900 10.3
 Vancouver PMSA 132,100 122,500 9,600 7.3
 Yakima MSA 103,000 90,700 12,300 11.9
 Adams 7,830 6,950 880 11.2
 Asotin 9,980 9,540 440 4.4
 Clallam 25,500 23,310 2,190 8.6
 Columbia 2,560 2,370 190 7.4
 Cowlitz 39,840 35,840 4,000 10.0
 Ferry 3,240 2,830 410 12.7
 Garfield 1,050 1,010 40 3.8
 Grant 29,910 27,020 2,890 9.7
 Grays Harbor 26,900 23,820 3,080 11.4
 Island 23,310 22,090 1,220 5.2
 Jefferson 9,220 8,500 720 7.8
 Kittitas 13,730 11,830 1,900 13.8
 Klickitat 8,200 7,020 1,180 14.4
 Lewis 26,930 24,200 2,730 10.1
 Lincoln 4,320 4,100 220 5.1
 Mason 15,680 14,350 1,330 8.5
 Okanogan 18,030 15,820 2,210 12.3
 Pacific 8,730 7,940 790 9.0
 Pend Oreille 3,480 3,000 480 13.8
 San Juan 6,700 6,350 350 5.2
 Skagit 43,160 39,200 3,960 9.2
 Skamania 2,410 1,740 670 27.8
 Stevens 12,210 10,470 1,740 14.3
 Wahkiakum 1,230 1,110 120 9.8
 Walla Walla 24,130 22,780 1,350 5.6
 Wenatchee Labor Area 43,740 38,840 4,900 11.2
 Chelan County B/ 29,350 25,750 3,600 12.3
 Douglas County B/ 14,390 13,090 1,300 9.0
 Whitman 19,910 19,430 480 2.4
 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- 6/2/92
 /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 -- SE009 -- 6424 06/02/92 18:00 EDT
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Date:Jun 2, 1992
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