December 31, 2009 in Region

Wash. state unemployment offices double in size

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — During a year of layoffs, one of the few places hiring in Washington in 2009 was the state’s unemployment offices.

The state Employment Security office more than doubled the size of its unemployment-claims staff this past year and still managed to clock 65,000 hours of overtime to handle the increased work load.

The extra people were needed to help 410,000 job seekers with employment counseling.

In 2009, state unemployment peaked at a seasonally adjusted 9.3 percent. The state paid out about $4 billion in jobless benefits in 2009, more than triple the previous year’s total.

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