OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Washington state government is bringing in more revenue than expected as the economy continues to improve.
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council said Wednesday that tax collections over the next two years will be more than $200 million greater than projected when state lawmakers adjourned at the end of June. Total revenue over that time period is now forecast to be nearly $33 billion.
State projections still aren't accounting for any money that could be raised from looming introduction of taxed marijuana sales.
The extra money could help lawmakers as they search for ways to put more dollars into the public education system. Forecasters say there are still a number of economic risks, including congressional gridlock, rising mortgage rates and possible economic turmoil in Europe.
Meanwhile, Washington state's unemployment rate increased slightly for the second straight month, even as the state added an estimated 5,300 jobs from July to August.
Officials with the state Employment Security Department said Wednesday that the jobless rate for August was 7 percent, up slightly from July's rate of 6.9 percent. Officials say the increase is a result of a small decline in the total labor force combined with an increase in the number of unemployed who are actively looking for work.
Industries that saw the largest job gains included government, retail trade, and wholesale trade. Sectors that saw decreases include manufacturing, financial activities and professional and business services.
More than 242,000 people were unemployed and looking for work last month, including 102,012 who claimed unemployment benefits during that same time period.