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.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

U.S. Department of Justice logo.
Renton man sentenced for killing of woman in Olympic National Forest

Authorities say the he brutally beat to death the California woman who he was having an affair with.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Environmental microbiologist Dr. Natalie Prystajecky with some of her staff members at the BC Centre for Disease Control. Photo: Submitted
Wastewater testing for COVID-19 coming to Interior Health

Testing can tell whether cases are rising or falling in a community

King County logo
King County audit finds backlog of property tax exemption applications for seniors, people with disabilities, and disabled veterans

The auditors found that program expansions lead to three-times the amount of applications.

Most Read