Spokane County: Unemployment claims up nearly 40 percent from previous week

OLYMPIA, Wash.- Initial unemployment claims filed increased from 8,766 to 12,102, up 38 percent from the week before in Spokane County.

New claims for unemployment benefits soared to a record of 181,975 in Washington for the week ending March 28.

According to the Employment Security Department, this represents a 3,513 percent increase year over year, and a 41 percent increase over the previous week in the state.

By comparison, this is seven times the peak week during the 2008 recession, which was 26,075 weekly initial claims.

Initial Claims Graph Original

Courtesy of ESD

Major industry sectors experiencing the highest percentage increase of initial claims during March 22-28 in Washington include:

  • Construction: 28,021 initial claims, up 438 percent from the previous week
  • Wholesale trade: 5,207 initial claims, up 166 percent from the previous week
  • Manufacturing: 13,967 initial claims, up 165 percent from the previous week
  • Retail trade: 22,002 initial claims, up 153 percent from the previous week

“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,” Employment Security Commissioner, Suzi LeVine, said. “Thus far, we have put more than $67 million into people’s pockets and into the Washington state economy since the start of the COVID crisis – between March 15 and March 28. This weekly amount will only grow as we expect weekly new claims to rise even further.”