Washington state's preliminary unemployment picture delivered a mixed message for January, showing that the state jobless rate was unchanged at 7.5 percent last month even as the state added 24,100 jobs, according to the state Employment Security Department.
The state cautioned that it has been more than 17 years since the state experienced that much job growth in month. The recent trend for the state has been an average of 5,000 jobs a month for the past year.
"The trend over the past year probably gives us a better idea of what's happening in the job market," Employment Security chief labor economist Joe Elling said in a statement.
The state expects that the job growth number for January will be revised.
Still, based on that preliminary figure, the sate added jobs in all industry sectors, except for one: the private-sector education and health services industry, which shed 1,500 jobs. The government sector added the most jobs with 5,500.