Washington unemployment rises slightly to 5.5%

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington gained 7,200 jobs overall last month, but the state's unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.5 percent.

The newest report from the state's Employment Security Department released on Thursday says the private sector is estimated to have grown by 5,600 jobs while government employment gained 1,600 jobs.

Jobs in transportation, warehousing and utilities grew by 2,200, and government jobs increased by 1,600. Jobs in retail trade dropped by 900 and professional and business services lost 1,500 jobs.

Job gains and losses are estimates based on a survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate counts the percentage of people who are unemployed and actively looking for work, and doesn't include those who have stopped looking for work.

The national unemployment rate last month was 5 percent. The state's unemployment rate in November 2015 was 5.3 percent.