January unemployment rate in Washington drops to 6%

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s unemployment rate dropped to 6% in January, down from December’s 7.1% rate, state officials announced Tuesday.

The Employment Security Department said that in addition to the drop in the overall jobless rate, the state added 4,400 jobs in January.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 6.7% in December to 6.3% in January. February’s unemployment rate will be released on March 24.

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’s unemployed and actively looking for work. People who quit looking for work are not counted. The job gains and losses estimates are based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.

Private sector employment decreased by 2,800 jobs while government employment increased by 1,600 jobs. Leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and government saw the largest gains, which professional and business services, transportation, warehousing and utilities, and financial activities saw the biggest losses.