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There’s more good news on the job front in Washington state, as the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent during December, according to a new report released today by the state Employment Security Department. That’s right on par with the national unemployment rate.

In Seattle, the unemployment rate stood at 7.9 percent in December. That was down from 8.2 percent in November, and 9.1 percent in December 2010.

“There is a lot of volatility in the numbers we get from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and one month of numbers isn’t enough to gauge what’s happening in the job market,” said Greg Weeks, who heads the labor-market information office at the state Employment Security Department. “If you look at the trend over time, jobs are gradually increasing and the unemployment rate is coming down.”

Industry sectors with the most job growth were education and health services, up an estimated 2,200 jobs; manufacturing, up 2,100; and the transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 500 jobs. Information, where many technology jobs get classified, showed a loss of 600 jobs.

Those numbers come despite rapid hiring at companies like, Google, Facebook, F5 Networks, EMC, Apptio, PopCap and others. Just this week, F5 Networks said that it planned to hire an additional 125 workers worldwide this quarter.


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