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unemployment-march111Washington state’s employment picture continues to brighten, with a jobless rate of just 6.3 percent and about 6,700 new jobs added in March, according to a new report out from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

In Seattle, the unemployment rate came in at 5.2 percent, up slightly from 5.1 percent in February.

And one tech industry with deep roots in the Seattle area is helping to fuel the boom. Online retailers — companies such as Amazon, Julep and Zulily — continue to add headcount in an aggressive manner. According to the report, the “other retail trade” — which includes online retail — added 1,400 jobs in the month of March. Year-over-year, the “other retail trade” was up 9,500, a 15 percent chunk of the overall 60,900 jobs added.

Online retail marked one solid industry, but others are growing too. Those include construction, leisure and hospitality and manufacturing.

“The short-term trend looks good,” said Paul Turek, an Employment Security labor economist. “It’s another small indication that the labor market is getting better. We’re getting job creation, but it’s not gang-busters job creation.”

Amazon is historically cagey about how many people it employs at its headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, but the company is adding jobs rapidly. It is also planning a massive expansion across three skyscrapers in Seattle’s Denny Triangle neighborhood, a project that will also include futuristic biospheres.

Worldwide, Amazon now employs more than 117,000 people, though that number also includes thousands of warehouse workers.


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