King County jobless rate rises

King County's unemployment rate increased in November, as did the statewide jobless percentage, according to the Washington Employment Security Department.

The state agency today reported a 5.3 percent unemployment rate in King County. In October, the rate was 5.1 percent, which was more than a percentage point better than the statewide average but well above the county's 3.7 percent for the same period a year ago.

Statewide unemployment last month was 6.3 percent. An estimated 222,551 people were unemployed and seeking work in Washington.

In counties bordering King County, the jobless rates were 6.6 percent in Pierce and 6.3 percent in Snohomish.

Washington lost an estimated 11,700 non-agricultural jobs in November, seasonally adjusted. The employment number also has been adjusted to remove the effect of the Boeing worker strike that ended Nov. 1, state officials reported.

“Just as we saw with the 2002 recession, Washington’s economy held up longer than most of the nation, but we’re quickly catching up now,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee.

Industries in Washington with the largest job growth in November were health services and social assistance (700 new jobs), professional, scientific and technical services (200), electronic markets, agents and brokers (200) and transportation equipment manufacturing (200). The largest declines were in residential specialty-trade construction, which lost 3,300 jobs. Big dropoffs also were recorded among clothing and accessory stores (down 1,800 jobs), administrative and support services (1,600) and general merchandise stores (1,200).

Laid-off workers can apply for unemployment benefits online at or by phone at 800-318-6022. The latter could have waits on hold of at least 30 minutes, officials said.

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