Washington’s unemployment rate edged down in May to the lowest level since modern record-keeping began four decades ago, the state Employment Security Department said Wednesday.

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Washington’s unemployment rate edged down in May to the lowest level since modern record-keeping began four decades ago, the state Employment Security Department (ESD) said Wednesday.

The statewide jobless rate dropped from 4.6 to 4.5 percent.

In the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metro area, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.3 percent, according to the seasonally adjusted, preliminary jobs estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The statewide rate remains a tad higher than the national unemployment level of 4.3 percent.

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ESD reports that the state’s labor force was virtually unchanged at 3.69 million in May. That figure — representing the number of people working as well as those actively searching for work — is a decline of 100 people from the previous month, but it is up 59,100 from a year earlier.

In the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett region, the labor force dropped by 3,100 from the previous month. But it, too, is up for the year, with 30,600 people added to the workforce.