OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent in February, the state Employment Security Department reported on Wednesday.

Employment increased by 94,700 jobs from February 2014 to February 2015, with 83,400 of those jobs in the private sector and the rest in government, the agency said.

Washington’s revised unemployment rate for January was also 6.3 percent, down from the initial 6.4 percent. The nation’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent.

The number of people who did not have a job but actively looked for work in the past four weeks dropped from 224,400 in January to 222,300 in February, the agency said.

Employment Security paid unemployment benefits to 79,181 people in February.

The unemployment rate in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett metropolitan area, the major population center, was 4.7 percent.

Washington’s resident labor force grew to more than 3.54 million people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16, the agency said.

“The continued expansion of the labor market shows that job seekers are more and more optimistic about the possibility of finding a job,” said state labor economist Paul Turek. “From year to year, Washington continues to enjoy steady job growth.”

The top five industry sectors with the largest employment gains from February 2014 to February 2015 were:

—Construction, with 17,900 new jobs.

—Professional and business services, 14,300 jobs.

—Retail trade, 12,800 jobs.

—Government, 11,300 jobs

—Education and health services, 9,900 jobs.

The mining and logging industry lost 300 jobs from February 2014 to February 2015.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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