(AP, Olympia) Washington’s unemployment rate held steady at 9 percent last month as the state lost about 3,200 jobs, officials said.

The latest job figures from the state Employment Security Department showed some signs of life in private-sector job growth, with a net gain of about 1,000 private jobs. But that was offset by the loss of about 4,200 government jobs.

(AP, Olympia) Washington’s unemployment rate held steady at 9 percent last month as the state lost about 3,200 jobs, officials said.

The latest job figures from the state Employment Security Department showed some signs of life in private-sector job growth, with a net gain of about 1,000 private jobs. But that was offset by the loss of about 4,200 government jobs.

“We’re gradually seeing private-sector jobs returning, and I find optimism in that,” Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause said.

The state estimates about 303,000 people were unemployed and looking for work last month, with about 223,000 people receiving unemployment benefits.

September’s 9 percent jobless rate was in line with August’s revised rate of 9 percent and slightly less than the 9.2 percent figure from a year earlier. National unemployment last month was pegged at 9.6 percent.

State officials said manufacturing led the industries adding jobs in September with a gain of 900 payroll slots. Wholesale trade added 700 jobs, and financial activities added about 600.

Other sectors adding jobs last month were transportation, warehousing and utilities, with 400 more jobs; retail trade and information, each adding 200; and mining/logging and other services, each gaining 100.

Government led the sectors shedding jobs last month with 4,200. Professional and business services were down about 1,000, and construction – particularly hard-hit by the Great Recession – dropped another 600 jobs in September.

The leisure and hospitality sector lost about 300 jobs, as did education and health services.

State officials said Washington has added a net total of 1,200 jobs in the past nine months. The state’s economy has lost about 17,700 jobs since September 2009.

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