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Sometimes it is a bit tough to tell what’s going on when you look at the numbers. And that appears to be the case with the latest report from the Washington Employment Security Department, which found that the state actually gained 5,000 jobs during July, yet the pesky unemployment rate edged up to 8.5 percent. During June, it stood at 8.3 percent.

“The July numbers illustrate that surveys aren’t perfect, and preliminary results are often revised later,” said Joe Elling, Employment Security’s chief labor economist. “When you compare where we are now to the same period a year ago, it’s apparent that the labor market is improving.”

The national unemployment rate for July stood at an estimated 8.3 percent, which will certainly continue to be a talking point in this crucial election year.

In July 2011, the state’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent.  Since then, the total labor force has grown by more than 39,000, and the number of unemployed workers who are actively looking for job has shrunk by about 24,500. The information category, where a number of tech jobs get classified, saw an increase of 100 jobs from June to July. On a year-to-year basis, the category is up by just 400 jobs.

You can see the full report here.

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