Unemployment in Washington state inched down to 4.4 percent in September, its lowest point in 42 years.
That is still higher than the national rate of 3.7 percent in September, but the job market here is as tight as it’s been in a generation as retailers in particular ramp up hiring ahead of the shopping season. Retail trade saw the strongest job gains in September, with employment in the sector up 2,100.
The state unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in August and 4.7 percent a year ago.
Washington’s workforce stood at about 3.77 million people in September, up from 3.75 million a year ago.
In the past 12 months, about 99,700 jobs were added across the state, almost all in the private sector. Professional and business services – a catchall industry classification that labor economists view as a bellwether – had the largest job gains in the past year, up 24,000 positions across the state.