Washington state’s employment growth remained steady in April, with the state adding 7,700 jobs, according to The Associated Press. Combined with March’s growth of 8,300 positions, that brings the total number gained in the last year to 77,000.
These newly recovered opportunities lowered Washington’s unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, just beating out the national average of 6.3 percent. The state’s average monthly unemployment and job growth rates are now approximately at the levels they were before the recession, according to The Seattle Times.
Most jobs added were in professional and business services, but the construction, retail, private education, and healthcare sectors also benefited. Administration and support services brought on 1,200 new workers, while 800 were added in scientific, technical, and professional fields.
Seattle is leading Washington’s growth, according to the state’s chief economist, Steve Lerch. Lerch told The Oregonian that Seattle has now gained back as many jobs as it lost in the recession, plus an additional 30,000.
The upward trend in Washington is echoed by the rest of the Pacific Northwest. Oregon’s job market expanded by 3 percent in the past few months, bringing the state up to pre-recession levels as well. Energy, agriculture, and, to a lesser extent, manufacturing are all driving employment growth in the area.