washington economy

According to numbers out Wednesday, the number of people out of work and looking for jobs is returning to pre-recession levels in the Northwest.

The recovery from the Great Recession has crossed a milestone in Washington state.


Washington state lawmakers have new information that might influence future environmental preservation legislation.

A study released today concludes the economic benefits of outdoor recreation in Washington exceed $21 billion a year.

It finds the average Washingtonian spends 56 days a year in outdoor recreation activities.  That includes things like camping, golfing, biking, fishing and boating.

It calculated the value of everything associated with those activities -- from equipment to food and gas, to the cost of the land used for the activities.

Washington and Oregon's latest unemployment numbers offer a paradox.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network

Washington’s budget outlook is suddenly $2 billion in the red largely because of a class size reduction measure just approved by Washington voters.

That initiative adds to an already challenging budget picture when lawmakers convene in January.

“I think we have a significant problem here and we have work to do,” Democrat Ross Hunter said. He’s the chief budget writer in the Washington House.

Hunter believes additional tax revenues will be needed to balance the next budget. Senate Republican budget chair Andy Hill disagrees.

Washington Employment Security Department

Employers added more than 5,600 jobs in Washington state last month. But the statewide unemployment rate as reported by the state Wednesday rose by 0.3 points to 6 percent.

The rise in the unemployment rate is not necessarily bad news, according to state labor economist Paul Turek. He said the economic recovery has encouraged people on the sidelines to begin job searches in greater numbers than the labor market can absorb right now.

Jodi Green / Flickr

The latest reading on unemployment in Washington state shows the rate holding steady in August at 5.6 percent. That's half a percentage point below the national rate according to a report from Washington's employment department Wednesday.