OLYMPIA, Wash. (Metro) -- Washington's preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July is up to 8.5 percent. That compares to June's jobless rate of 8.3 percent. Officials say 298-thousand people across the state were unemployed in July. Three-hundred-twenty-two thousand workers were jobless in July of last year. The Employment Security Department's Joe Elling said in a statement that "when you compare where we are now to the same period a year ago, it's apparent that the labor market is improving." Copyright © 2012 Metro Networks Inc.