WA Unemployment Rate Jumps To 8.4 Percent

OLYMPIA, WA — Washington’s jobless rate of 8.4 percent is the highest in 24 years. And it’s the second straight month the state has a higher unemployment rate than the nation’s — 8.1 percent.

The state Employment Security Department says today’s jobless figures indicate Washington’s economy has slid deeper into the recession.

Even jobs in recession-resistant education and health services have declined.

Washington’s 8.4 percent jobless rate for February compares to 7.8 for January and 4.7 a year ago.

Out of a work force of 3.5 million in Washington about 300,000 people are looking for work.

More than 28,000 jobs were lost last month, and more than 97,000 jobs in the past year. That’s a 3.3 percent annual decline, compared with a national decline of 3 percent.