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New jobless claims in Washington, Spokane County rise

UPDATED: Thu., Nov. 5, 2020

This photo shows the headquarters of the Employment Security Division in Olympia. Laid-off workers in the state filed 16,837 new jobless claims last week, down 33.2% from the previous week.  (Associated Press)
This photo shows the headquarters of the Employment Security Division in Olympia. Laid-off workers in the state filed 16,837 new jobless claims last week, down 33.2% from the previous week. (Associated Press)

New jobless claims in the state and Spokane County increased last week as seasonal layoffs occurred in the agriculture, construction and specialty trade industries, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Laid-off workers in the state filed 14,681 new jobless claims Oct. 25-31, an increase of 3.4% when compared with the previous week, the department reported Thursday.

More than 465,563 claims in all unemployment benefit categories were filed last week, a 2.1% decrease from a week prior.

The ESD paid more than $143 million in benefits for the week ending Oct. 31. It has paid more than $12.1 billion in benefits since the pandemic’s onset in the state in mid-March.

The state’s construction sector saw the greatest number of new claims for the week ending Oct. 31 with 1,931, a 10% increase from a week prior. Workers in the accommodation and food services sector filed 1,546 new claims, and health care and social assistance employees filed 1,174. Laid-off manufacturing workers in the state filed 1,072 new claims last week, while crop production workers filed 471, according to data from the ESD.

Laid-off workers in Spokane County filed 1,025 new unemployment claims the week ending Oct. 31, a 13% increase compared with 908 claims filed a week prior, according to the employment security department.

In the county, 415 new claims last week came from undisclosed professions, while laid-off workers in the food services and drinking places sector filed 119, followed by specialty trade contractors, who filed 97 claims, according to ESD data.

Claims in Idaho increase slightly

Laid-off workers in Idaho filed 3,919 new benefit claims in the week ending Oct. 31, a slight increase from the 3,862 claims filed a week prior, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Continued claims increased 1% to 8,124, ending 25 consecutive weeks of declines, according to the department.

The department paid out $5.8 million in benefits last week, down from $6 million paid in the week ending Oct. 24.

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