OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Washington state's unemployment rate last month dropped to 7.3 percent, the lowest rate in more than four years.
However, numbers released Wednesday by the state Employment Security Department show that after previous strong monthly job gains, those gains were lost in March, with a decrease of 5,500 jobs from the prior month.
An estimated 254,000 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in March, including more than 136,000 who claimed unemployment benefits.
More than 3,100 unemployed workers ran out of unemployment benefits last month. A total of 135,236 people have exhausted their benefits since extended benefits were activated in July 2008.