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Washington Job Growth Ranks 6th in Nation

For Immediate Release: January 29, 2007

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today announced that the 2006 job growth rate in Washington was double the national average and ranked sixth in the nation.

“Washington has one of the most robust job markets in the nation and there is no question that Washington is open for business,” said Governor Chris Gregoire. “This means businesses are prospering and people are finding opportunities for new and exciting careers. Moving forward, we must focus on building a strong, skilled work force to make sure we keep jobs in Washington and compete effectively in the global economy.”

Professional and business services had the largest gains in employment in 2006, adding 18,100 new jobs. The construction and manufacturing industries also saw strong job growth, adding 14,200 and 13,200 new jobs, respectively. Overall, more than 79,000 new jobs were created in 2006, representing an annual growth rate of 2.8 percent. The national average was 1.4 percent.

The average unemployment rate in Washington for 2006 was 4.9 percent, which is the lowest average annual rate in the state since 1999. No major industry sectors in Washington saw job declines in 2006.

“Washington took some big hits in the post-9/11 recession, but we’ve bounced back and we’re competing effectively with some of the largest states in the nation,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee.

In other employment news, the Washington WorkSource system assisted nearly 24,000 businesses and helped place more than 330,000 people in jobs in 2006. There are approximately 28,000 unfilled jobs available through WorkSource. Individuals can find out more about these jobs by visiting their local WorkSource office or checking online at

WorkSource is a partnership of business, government agencies, colleges and non-profits organizations that offer employment and training services for job seekers and businesses.