New jobless claims in Washington state and Spokane County posted double-digit increases last week as seasonal layoffs continued in the agriculture and construction industries.
Laid-off workers in the state filed 25,201 new claims Nov. 1-7, increasing 71.7% compared with the previous week. That increase marks the largest spike in new claims since the week of March 21, the department reported Thursday.
However, new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and continued benefit claims declined last week.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a temporary, emergency program established by the CARES Act that expands jobless benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors and part-time workers impacted by the pandemic.
More than 429,063 claims in all unemployment benefit categories were filed last week, a 2.1% decrease from a week prior.
The ESD paid more than $146.5 million in benefits for the week ending Nov. 7. It has paid more than $12.2 billion in benefits since the pandemic’s onset in March.
The state’s construction sector saw the greatest number of new claims for the week ending Nov. 7 with 2,980 claims. The accommodation and food services sector filed 2,745 new claims, and health care and social assistance filed 2,360.
Laid-off workers in Spokane County filed 1,510 new unemployment claims the week ending Nov.7, a 47.3% increase compared with 1,025 claims filed a week prior, according to the employment security department.
In the county, 477 new claims last week came from undisclosed professions.
Those laid-off workers in the food services and drinking places sector filed 142 claims, followed by specialty trade contractors, which filed 122 claims, according to ESD data.
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