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Washington unemployment drops to lowest in six years

Washington unemployment drops to lowest in six years

Thanks to a boost in June, Washington's unemployment numbers have dropped to their lowest levels in six years to 5.8 percent – that's according to the state's Employment Security Department.

Industry sectors saw the largest growth with 2,600 jobs. Retail grew by 2,200, leisure and hospitality by 1,900 and wholesale trade by 1,400. Professional and business services, information, manufacturing, financial services and mining also saw growth in the hundreds.

“After a hiring lull in May, Washington employers really picked up the pace in June,” said Paul Turek, an economist with the department. “The state's economy is picking up momentum and the near term job outlook is good.”

During the one-year period ending in June, Employment Security estimates that employers created 84,700 jobs.

State of emergency declared for 20 counties

State of emergency declared for 20 counties

A state of emergency has been declared in 20 eastern Washington counties due to multiple wildfires threatening homes, businesses and public infrastructure. The National Weather Service has also posted red flag warnings and fire weather watches for hazardous conditions (high temperatures, low humidity, high winds) for much of eastern Washington through Friday.

Impacted counties include:

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. to begin test flights in Moses Lake

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. to begin test flights in Moses Lake

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has announced they are expanding their test flight facilities to include the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake.

Mitsubishi says they chose Moses Lake because of the large aerospace industry cluster located in Washington, and because the airport meets all the requirements for flight testing like a long runway, flexibility for take-offs/landings with no regular transport services and a greater chance of fair weather.

Mitsubishi signed a contract with AeroTEC, based in both Seattle and Moses Lake, in 2011 to provide flight test planning support, consultation and advice.

Flight testing for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is set to begin in 2015.

Whooping cough among farmworkers in Grant County

The Grant County Health District is responding to a local outbreak of whooping cough among migrant workers in Mattawa and Quincy.

Three cases have been confirmed and 210 people were given antibiotics from Friday through Monday.

The health district says workers also are being offered the vaccine known as the Tdap shot for pertussis. The shot is especially important to prevent spreading the disease to infants.

The health district says the farm where the workers are housed has been responsive and cooperative.

Metal thefts hit Moses Lake farms, ranches

�Metal thieves are hitting some ranches and farms in Grant County.

The sheriff's office says there have been five thefts recently of steel and aluminum livestock corral panels in the Moses Lake area.

Sheriff Tom Jones urges residents to form neighborhood watches to look for suspicious people.

Metal thefts hit Moses Lake farms, ranches

Metal thieves are hitting some ranches and farms in Grant County.

The sheriff's office says there have been five thefts recently of steel and aluminum livestock corral panels in the Moses Lake area.

Sheriff Tom Jones urges residents to form neighborhood watches to look for suspicious people.

Wildfire threatens structures near Quincy

Wildfire threatens structures near Quincy

An 800-acre wildfire is burning just west of Quincy, Wash. toward Wenatchee.

The fire is being fueled by wind, according to firefighters in Grant County.

There are no road closures or evacuation orders in effect, but fire officials say several structures are threatened.

The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Five agencies are working to battle the flames.