Washington sees 6.5 percent drop in unemployment claims, but new surge expected in coming weeks

Black unemployment rate hits record low
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SPOKANE CO., Wash. — Washington state saw a 6.5 percent drop in initial unemployment claims this past week.

Across the state, 170,063 people filed initial claims, down from the 181,875 the previous week.

That downward trend was true of Spokane County, as well. Between March 29 and April 4, just over 11,300 Spokane County residents filed for unemployment. More than 12,100 had filed the week before.

During the past week, the Employment Security Department paid out $79.4 million to 182,315 individuals across Washington. ESD has paid out nearly $140 million in benefits to Washingtonians since the week ending March 16, which marked the first big week of claims.

“It remains critical that people stay home and stay healthy, that is paramount. The increased utilization of unemployment insurance across the state demonstrates that more and more people are abiding by this order. Although the number of initial claims is down slightly from last week, we need to be cautious that this does not yet depict a trend,” said Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine.

LeVine said the ESD is implementing the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which will increase the number of workers who are eligible for unemployment benefits. The ESD predicts seeing a new surge of claims in the coming weeks.

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