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New jobless claims drop in Washington, Spokane County

Laid-off workers in the state filed 17,734 new jobless claims Sept. 20-26, a 9.4% decrease compared with a week prior, the department reported Thursday.  (Associated Press)
Laid-off workers in the state filed 17,734 new jobless claims Sept. 20-26, a 9.4% decrease compared with a week prior, the department reported Thursday. (Associated Press)

New jobless claims in the state and Spokane County declined last week, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Laid-off workers in the state filed 17,734 new jobless claims Sept. 20-26, a 9.4% decrease compared with a week prior, the department reported Thursday.

More than 530,360 claims in all unemployment benefit categories were filed last week, a 1.8% drop from the week before.

The department paid out more than $775 million for 424,789 total individual claims, an increase of $629 million and 135,399 claims compared with the prior week.

More than $625 million was the result of Lost Wages Assistance program payments, a temporary federal program that provided an additional $300 in benefits for eligible claimants from Aug. 1-Sept. 5.

“As we head into autumn, ESD has now paid out more than $11 billion to over one million Washingtonians since the COVID-19 job losses began in March,” ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine said in a statement. “The big jump this week was due to the delivery of benefits for the Lost Wages Assistance program, which provided more than $625 million in much needed funds to individuals and families across the state.”

The construction sector saw the greatest number of new claims last week, with 2,468. Accommodation and food services workers filed 2,162 new claims, retail trade sector filed 1,461, and health care and social assistance sector employees filed 1,409, according to the department.

In Spokane County, laid-off workers filed 1,056 new unemployment claims the week ending Sept. 26, a 7% decrease compared with 1,134 claims filed the week before, according to the employment security department.

Idaho claims decline 13%

New jobless claims in Idaho declined 13% in the week ending Sept. 26, compared with a week prior, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Laid-off workers in Idaho filed 2,995 new claims last week, the department said Thursday.

Continued claims dropped 8% to 9,895 last week, marking 21 consecutive weeks of declining applications, according to the department.

The department paid out $7.1 million in benefits last week, down from $7.8 million for the week ending Sept. 18.

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