The Seattle-area unemployment rate stands at 3.9 percent, but statewide the rate rose to 5.5 percent, equal to the national figure.

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About three months ago, the new 21-story Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, gearing up to open at First and Union in October, posted its first hourly position: an administrative-support job. It received 300 applications.

In today’s job market, it’s easy to see why. Hospitality, with 600 new jobs last month, is one of the few sectors that is growing in a generally tepid economy, according to the state’s jobless numbers released Tuesday.

Employment conditions slipped another rung in Washington last month, with the state reporting a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent, matching the national figure.

June’s seasonally adjusted rate, a full percentage point above the figure one year before, is the highest since October 2005. The Seattle-area rate was much lower, 3.9 percent in June, down from 4 percent in May and slightly above 3.8 percent a year ago.

Unemployment rates in King and Snohomish counties, which are not seasonally adjusted, held steady May to June at 3.9 and 4.5 percent respectively, but slipping from 3.7 and 4.0 percent, respectively, a year ago.

Pierce County took a harder hit, with the unadjusted rate jumping to 6.5 percent from 5.7 percent in May. The jobless rate in Kitsap County climbed to 6 percent last month from 5.2 percent in May.

The number of nonfarm jobs statewide was unchanged between May and June.

Sectors losing employment were led by construction, which shed 900 jobs last month, shrinking 4.5 percent compared with a year ago and about 1 percent compared with May. The financial sector cut 700 jobs, and government lost 400.

Some industries posted modest growth: Manufacturing added 700 jobs — 600 of them in aerospace — and leisure and hospitality gained 600 jobs.

The Four Seasons already has hired 40 and plans to employ 250 full time. Available jobs are cooks and housekeepers (30 to 40 positions each) or desk clerks and concierges (about 25 or so positions) and maintenance jobs.

Between 200 and 300 applications are already on file, and today, the hotel will host the first of two mass-hiring events at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center.

Another job fair, featuring 40 companies such as Boeing and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion, is scheduled today at the Qwest Field Event Center.

The swell in the unemployment rate was caused by more people searching for work, said the state Employment Security Department.

These new job seekers could be recent college graduates, recent arrivals to the area labor market or other people entering the labor force and looking for jobs, according to department spokeswoman Caitlin Cormier.

The state’s chief economist, David Wallace, said the latest figures are moving along toward an economic slowdown that he expects to continue through the rest of the year.

Total nonfarm jobs in Washington grew 1.1 percent in June over one year earlier, compared to 0.01 percent year-over-year job growth nationally.

Isaac Arnsdorf: 206-464-2397 or

Seattle Times reporter Drew DeSilver contributed to this report.