Jobless claims in the state dropped for the second week in a row as seasonal layoffs in construction resulted in fewer new benefit applications, according to the Washington state Employment Security Department.
Laid-off workers in the state filed 18,212 new jobless claims Jan. 10-16, a 29.2% decrease compared with the week prior, the department reported Thursday.
Laid-off workers in Spokane County filed 1,298 new unemployment claims the week ending Jan. 16, a 31% decrease compared with 1,880 claims filed the week before, according to the employment security department.
In the county, 572 new claims last week came from undisclosed professions, which have not been categorized into specific employment sectors.
The food services and drinking places sector filed 118. Specialty trade contractors filed 98. Social assistance filed 52, while the accommodation sector filed 49.
For the entire state, more than 468,801 claims in all unemployment benefit categories were filed last week, a 9.1% drop from a week prior.
New claims in the construction sector decreased by 1,742 to 3,199, while new claims in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector dropped by 422 to 739 claims.
The ESD paid more than $320 million in benefits for 336,817 claims in the week ending last week, more than double the $146.8 million distributed in the week ending Jan. 9.
The ESD attributes the increase to Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation back payments, which it began processing on Jan. 14.
The department has paid more than $13.8 billion in benefits since the pandemic’s onset in March.
The construction sector filed the greatest number of new claims last week with 2,361.
That was followed by the accommodation and food services sector, which filed 2,278 claims.
Laid-off retail trade workers filed 1,820 requests for benefits and health care and social assistance filed 1,584, according to the ESD.
A reduction in layoffs in the administration and support industry sector also contributed to a decrease in new jobless claims last week.
New claims dropped by 526, resulting in a total number of 1,106 benefit applications filed for the week ending Jan. 16.
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