Unemployment claims in Washington continue to soar. Image courtesy Employment Security Department

Unemployment claims in Washington continue to soar. Image courtesy Employment Security Department

Unemployment claims continue to climb

For the week of March 22-28, claims have reached more than 181,000.

The state’s Employment Security Department (ESD) has reported that unemployment claims have drastically increased.

In an April 2 press release, the ESD said claims for benefits “soared to a record 181,975 for the week of March 22-28,” a 3,513% increase over the last year.

That is also a 41% increase over the previous week, when the department reported nearly 129,000 claims had come their way.

“These numbers suggest two contrasting points, 1) that more and more businesses and individuals are abiding by the ‘Stay home, stay healthy’ order – which is critical for the health of our fellow Washingtonians, and 2) this virus is having a profoundly negative impact on our economic health, and that Washington businesses and workers are hurting like never before,” Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine said in the release. “We are humbled here at ESD to help mitigate that economic impact by providing workers and businesses with some amount of relief, especially since we all play a key role in battling this virus.”

LeVine added that more than $67 million in unemployment benefits had been provided to Washingtonians since March 15.

“This weekly amount will only grow as we expect weekly new claims to rise even further,” she added.

All counties have experienced a spike in unemployment claims, with Snohomish County rising to the top between March 22-28, rising from 13,692 claims to 21,176, a 55% increase.

Behind it was Pierce County, which saw claims numbers jump 50% to a total of 22,145 during the same time period, and Spokane County 38% for a total of 12,102.

King County, which initially saw the highest claims increases when the COVID-19 outbreak started, has since slowed, increasing only 20% for a total of 44,613.

To handle the increased numbers, LeVine said ESD has improved its website, esd.wa.gov, and increased staff to expand its call center, which includes adding Saturday call center hours.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County
Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

Democrats in the Washington State House are proposing to pay for transportation improvements partly by raising the gas tax by 18 cents. (Sound Publishing file photo)
House Democrats lay out massive $26B transportation package funded by gas tax hike

An 18-cent gas tax increase and a fee on carbon emissions would fund new roads and more.

File photo
Report: 70 percent of gun deaths in Washington are attributable to suicide

Research done at The Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview… Continue reading

June 2018 algae bloom. Photo courtesy of Department of Ecology
Human-caused ‘dead zones’ threaten health of Puget Sound

Wastewater treatment plants account for about 70% of the excess nutrients.

Robert Allen, 61, had never been homeless in his life before 2019, when he lost his housing. The chef has been trying to get back on his feet, and hopes to open a nonprofit and make hot sauce. File photo
King County implements 0.01% sales tax to raise money for housing the homeless

Officials plan to buy hotels, motels and nursing homes for conversion into permanent housing.

Teaser
Social media site Parler returns after registering with Sammamish company

The right-wing social media website is not being hosted by Epik, but registered its domain.

Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr
Seattle renters seek cheaper rent in surrounding cities

One factor includes the ability to work remotely, according to housing economist.

Local restaurants have had to adapt to new rules during the COVID pandemic. Pictured: JP’s Tavern in Federal Way’s turkey club sandwich with a side of tater tots. File photo
State lawmakers propose bill to fast-track the governor’s reopening plan

Bill’s sponsors want to give legislature control over COVID-19 restrictions.

Fentanyl. (Courtesy photo)
King County reports record numbers of drug overdose deaths

Preliminary toxicology testing shows most overdose victims used multiple types of drugs.

Most Read