New jobless claims in the state and Spokane County declined last week, following a sharp increase in mid-November as hundreds of laid-off workers sought benefits because of statewide restrictions imposed on the restaurant and retail industries.
Laid-off workers in the state filed 22,334 new jobless claims Nov. 22-28, a drop of 26.2% compared with the previous week, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.
The drop in new claims indicates the initial impact of statewide restrictions on heavily hit restaurant, arts, entertainment and retail industries has leveled out, according to the ESD.
New claims in the accommodation and food services sector dropped to 6,057, a 31% decrease from a week prior. Construction sector workers filed 3,008 new claims, while those in the manufacturing sector filed 1,610. The retail trade sector saw 1,398 claims, down 34% from a week prior.
Some 459,681 claims in all unemployment benefit categories were filed last week, a 1.1% decrease from the previous week, the ESD reported.
The department paid more than $133.8 million in benefits for the week ending Nov. 28. It has paid more than $12.6 billion in benefits since the pandemic hit the economy in March.
Laid-off workers in Spokane County filed 1,703 new unemployment claims the week ending Nov.28, a 32% decrease compared with 1,575 claims filed a week prior, according to the ESD.
In the county, 529 new claims last week were from the accommodation and food services sector, followed by 440 claims from undisclosed professions, which have not yet been categorized into a specific job sector. Specialty trade contractors filed 133, according to ESD data.
New jobless claims decline in Idaho
Laid-off workers in Idaho filed 3,991 new benefit claims in the week ending Nov. 28, a 15.7% decrease from 4,732 claims filed last week, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.
Continued claims increased 3% to 9,245 last week, according to the department.
An increase in new and continued claims is typical for November, December and January because of the seasonal nature of Idaho’s economy, but coronavirus-related claims may disrupt the normal seasonal pattern, the department said in a statement. The department paid out $5.7 million in benefits last week.
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