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New jobless claims in Washington, Spokane County soared in the week ending Nov. 21

Laid-off workers in the state filed 22,334 new jobless claims Nov. 22-28, dropping 26.2% compared with the previous week, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.  (Associated Press)
Laid-off workers in the state filed 22,334 new jobless claims Nov. 22-28, dropping 26.2% compared with the previous week, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. (Associated Press)

New jobless claims in the state and Spokane County soared in the week ending Nov. 21 as hundreds of workers were laid off locally following a second round of statewide restrictions that limited indoor dining and reduced retail occupancy.

Laid-off workers in the state filed 30,274 new jobless claims Nov. 15-21, up 79.8% compared with the previous week, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Initial claims included both new and “restarted” claims by previous applicants, the department reported last week.

Some 464,884 claims in all unemployment benefit categories were filed Nov. 15-21, a 7.1% increase from a week prior.

The department paid out more than $135.5 million in benefits for the week ending Nov. 14. It has paid more than $12.5 billion in benefits since the pandemic’s onset in the state in March.

The food preparation and serving sector saw the greatest increase in new claims during the week ending Nov. 21 with 7,954, which is likely attributable to a second round of statewide restrictions that limit indoor dining until mid-December, the ESD said.

Increases also occurred in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector with 986 claims, followed by the retail trade sector with 779.

Laid-off workers in Spokane County filed 2,507 new unemployment claims the week ending Nov. 21, more than double 1,107 claims filed a week prior, according to the employment security department.

In the county, 892 new claims that week came from food services and drinking places, while specialty trade contractors filed 152, followed by administrative and support services, which filed 125 claims, according to ESD data.

The increase in new jobless claims in Spokane County is attributed, in part, to seasonal layoffs in construction and recreation that typically occur every year, in addition to layoffs as a result of statewide restrictions affecting restaurants and bars, said Doug Tweedy, a regional economist for the ESD.

“Because the business restrictions are temporary, I think going forward, initial claims will start going down from here,” Tweed said .

New jobless claims in Idaho up 6.5%

Laid-off workers in Idaho filed 4,732 new benefit claims in the week ending Nov. 21, a 6.5% increase from 5,060 claims filed the previous week, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Continued claims increased 2% to 8,793 from Nov. 15-21, according to the department.

The department paid out $5.7 million in benefits during the week, up from $5.6 million paid for the week ending Nov. 14.

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