Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May dropped below 7 percent for the first time since November 2008. 

Reported at an estimated 6.8 percent in May, the unemployment rate has fallen by 0.7 percentage points since the start of this year.

“Washington’s labor market is continuing to recover and expand at a modest rate,” said Paul Turek, a labor economist for Employment Security.

The state added an estimated 4,100 jobs in May, seasonally adjusted, with 3,200 of them in government and another 2,500 being injected to education and health services sectors. Turek said most of the increase in government jobs occurred in higher education and state government. They were due to delays in seasonal staffing reductions, which threw off the seasonal adjustment factors.

The gains were offset by 1,400 jobs lost in “other services” and a loss of 600 in manufacturing.

Meanwhile, economists revised the April job numbers downward by 2,100 jobs, from a preliminary estimated gain of 3,800 to a gain of just 1,700.

So far, Washington has regained about 79 percent (162,100) of the 205,000 jobs it lost during the recession.