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unemploymentnov2013The latest stats from the state’s Employment Security Department show Washington’s unemployment rate staying consistent over the past two months despite the first job losses in nearly two years.

unemploymentnov20132The unemployment rate went from 7 percent in August down to 6.9 percent in September, before coming back up to 7 percent last month.

However, after 22 straight months of job growth, Washington state did see a total job loss of about 9,500 during the past two months — 1,400 loss in September, 8,500 in October — after adding 8,600 jobs in August.

Paul Turek, a labor economist with Employment Security, said that the drops are related to recent statistical adjustments and the overall economy.

“We enjoyed a very long growth streak, but we should expect there will be ups and downs over time as the recovery gradually strengthens,” Turek said in a press release.

Still, though, Washington has added 48,700 jobs over the past year overall. The unemployment is also down from 7.8 percent in October 2012.

unemployementnov20131Education and health services, along with the construction industry, saw the biggest job losses from September to October. Wholesale and retail trade industries saw the most substantial increases.

In its report, the Employment Security Department noted that the federal government shutdown from Oct. 1 to Oct. 16 did not affect job numbers since no positions were actually eliminated. However, it could have affected the overall unemployment rate for October since the surveys go out during the second week of every month.

The state’s unemployment rate is calculated based on the number of people actively looking for work and the overall labor force, while monthly job gains and losses data is pulled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of businesses.

In terms of the tech space, hiring talented employees still remains a difficult task and especially for startups who have to compete with giants like Amazon and Microsoft who can offer good pay and stability. Challenges with hiring seem to vary, whether it’s a culture fit issue or simply finding qualified candidates. And once talent is locked down, many startups continue to up the quality and quantity of perks to help keep employees happy and reduce turnover.

See the full report here.

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