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WASHINGTON STATE UNEMPLOYMENT SWELLS IN DECEMBER

 WASHINGTON STATE UNEMPLOYMENT SWELLS IN DECEMBER
 OLYMPIA, Wash., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington's unemployment


rate jumped six-tenths of a percentage point to 6.9 percent in December and was above the national rate for the first time in two years.
 The increase was the largest for December since the 1981-82 recession. December's rate was 1.3 percentage points higher than a year ago. The comparable national rate was 6.8 percent.
 "Clearly, the state's economy is showing signs of both seasonal and cyclical downturn," said Employment Security Commissioner Vernon Stoner. "Our state's rate historically has been equal to or slightly higher than the national rate."
 Non-farm employment dropped 16,700, the largest December decrease on record. Even though roughly 4,300 of the jobs lost were election workers hired briefly in November, the balance of the drop remained sizeable. Losses in government (-4,600 aside from election workers) and construction (-3,100) were fairly typical for the period. Adjustments in state and local education (-2,300) largely reflected quarterly interim timing at colleges and universities. Cutbacks in the building trades (-2,000) and transportation services (-1,100) were largely seasonal.
 Dennis Fusco, chief economist for the department, noted that the biggest change from previous Decembers was the weaker than normal build up in retail trade. Twenty-five hundred retail jobs were added this year rather than the 6,500 average increase during the previous five Decembers.
 "Consumer caution marked most of 1991 and retailers simply responded accordingly in terms of temporary holiday hiring," Fusco said. "The result caused less than normal offset at a time of sharp seasonal reductions elsewhere in the economy."
 Wholesale trade (-2,000) dropped seasonally and services employment (+100) held firm. Payrolls in manufacturing fell 4,100. Most of the loss centered in food and kindred products (-2,600) and lumber and wood products (-900). But adding to the total was a 400-worker drawdown in aerospace -- the fourth monthly loss from a high of 117,100 in August. Weakness is showing in the military and space portions, while the larger commercial sector remains strong.
 Over the year, nonfarm employment was down 15,900 workers. This was the second month in a row with lower than prior-year totals after eight years of year-to-year gains. Construction (-10,600) and trade (-13,700) have led with shortfall, with manufacturing off by 6,800 workers. Only services (+4,300) and government (+15,800) remain positive in terms of year-to-year job growth.
 WASHINGTON STATE EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT
 LABOR MARKET AND ECONOMIC ANALYSIS BRANCH
 RESIDENT LABOR FORCE AND EMPLOYMENT
 IN WASHINGTON STATE AND LABOR MARKET AREAS
 (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
 DECEMBER 1991 PRELIMINARY 1/
 Unemploy-Unemp.
 Labor Force Employment ment Rate
 Washington State total 2,491,600 2,320,300 171,300 6.9
 Bellingham MSA 70,400 65,600 4,800 6.8
 Bremerton MSA 84,000 79,500 4,500 5.4
 Olympia MSA 86,200 80,800 5,400 6.3
 Seattle PMSA 1,129,100 1,071,800 57,300 5.1
 King County 2/ 889,700 846,800 42,900 4.8
 Snohomish County 2/ 239,500 225,000 14,500 6.1
 Spokane MSA 173,700 162,400 11,300 6.5
 Tacoma PMSA 247,000 229,700 17,300 7.0
 Tri-Cities MSA 72,500 65,800 6,700 9.2
 Benton County 2/ 55,600 51,500 4,100 7.4
 Franklin County 2/ 16,900 14,300 2,600 15.4
 Vancouver PMSA 127,500 118,200 9,300 7.3
 Yakima MSA 95,100 81,800 13,300 14.0
 Adams 7,390 6,260 1,130 15.3
 Asotin 9,060 8,580 480 5.3
 Clallam 23,320 21,140 2,180 9.3
 Columbia 1,400 1,200 200 14.3
 Cowlitz 38,430 35,040 3,390 8.8
 Ferry 3,180 2,860 320 10.1
 Garfield 960 910 50 5.2
 Grant 26,820 23,180 3,640 13.6
 Grays Harbor 26,450 23,170 3,280 12.4
 Island 22,610 21,390 1,220 5.4
 Jefferson 8,890 8,210 680 7.6
 Kittitas 12,770 11,100 1,670 13.1
 Klickitat 7,870 6,860 1,010 12.8
 Lewis 23,650 20,790 2,860 12.1
 Lincoln 3,930 3,630 300 7.6
 Mason 16,750 15,150 1,600 9.6
 Okanogan 17,100 14,550 2,550 14.9
 Pacific 7,570 6,610 960 12.7
 Pend Oreille 3,260 2,830 430 13.2
 San Juan 5,750 5,420 330 5.7
 Skagit 40,610 36,460 4,150 10.2
 Skamania 2,220 1,700 520 23.4
 Stevens 11,630 10,180 1,450 12.5
 Wahkiakum 1,240 1,120 120 9.7
 Walla Walla 22,740 20,870 1,870 8.2
 Wenatchee Labor Area 42,030 37,790 4,240 10.1
 Chelan County 2/ 28,070 25,050 3,020 10.8
 Douglas County 2/ 13,970 12,740 1,230 8.8
 Whitman 18,300 17,650 650 3.6
 1/ Official U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 2/ Estimates are determined by using the Population/Claims Share
 disaggregation methodology.
 Note: Detail may not add due to rounding
 -0- 2/4/92
 /CONTACT: Dennis Fusco, 206-438-4820, or John Welsh, 206-753-5216, both of the Washington State Employment Security Department/ CO: Washington State Employment Security Department ST: Washington IN: SU:


LM -- SE011 -- 6936 02/04/92 18:01 EST
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