Unemployment numbers skyrocket across Washington state

Staff Writer

Over the past week there have been 133,464 new claims for unemployment benefits in Washington state, at an increase of 843% over the previous week, due to layoffs and business closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This data shows the enormity of the situation unfolding in our state," Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine said in a press release Thursday. "The velocity and volume of the impact of COVID-19 has created a crisis that is unprecedented in the history of the program — going back to the 1930s when it was established."
To address the increase in jobs lost, the ESDC will be getting benefits out more quickly to those eligible and expanding eligibility. By industry, there were 41,309 new claims in accommodation and food services, up 1,033% from last week. Health care and social assistance had 18,902 new claims, up 2,103%. Retail trade had 8,700 new claims, up 1,189%. Manufacturing had 5,276 new claims, up 434%. Other services had 9,626 new claims, up 2,871%.
Spokane County experienced the highest increase in claims from 455 to 8,766, up 1,826%. Stevens County increased from 49 to 388, Ferry County increased from eight to 20, Pend Oreille increased from 11 to 87.