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Jobs saved in Shared-Work Program

Washington’s Shared-Work Program kept 32,000 workers on the job in 2010, a record and up by 10,000 from 2009, the Employment Security Department said Thursday.

The department estimated the program cost the state $35 million but saved about $34 million.

Shared-Work replaces some wages of full-time workers whose hours are reduced. Had the 32,000 program beneficiaries instead collected the average 20 weeks of unemployment benefits collected by laid-off workers, the cost to the state would have been $69 million.

Huntwood Industries in Liberty Lake was among the 3,700 employers approved for the program.

“The Shared-Work program has helped us retain our valued workers during these challenging economic times,” said Richard Gobble, a human resources specialist with the cabinet maker.

In 2009, 2,700 businesses qualified and 22,000 jobs were saved, the department said.

ESD Commissioner Paul Trause encouraged more employers to participate.

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