The coronavirus-induced job market crash began to have a crippling effect on the labor force in Grant, Adams, Chelan and Douglas counties during the third week of March. Labor stats released by the state’s Employment Security Department shows week-over-week increases by as much as over 1000% the week of March 15-21.
Unemployment claims jumped from 93 the second week of March to the 1,039 the third week of March. In Adams County, claims increase eight-and-a-half times from the second to third week of this month. Chelan County saw the biggest surge with claims totaling 110 during the week of March 8 to 1,473 the week of March 15. Lastly, Douglas County saw a stark contrast in claims with 46 recorded March 8 through March 14 and 539 from March 15 to March 21.
“This data shows the enormity of the situation unfolding in our state,” said Employment Security Department Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “The velocity and volume of the impact of COVID-19 has created a crisis that is unprecedented in the history of the program – going back to the 1930s when it was established. To address this, I have an amazing team working hard on three very clear priorities: get benefits out more quickly to those who are eligible, expand eligibility for those who can utilize this benefit, and help employers find staff for essential jobs. The entire department is doing everything we can to meet the needs of this situation and our fellow Washingtonians.”
Statewide, industry sectors experiencing the highest percentage of new claims during March 15-21 were:
- Accommodation and food services: 41,309 new claims, up 1,033 percent from the previous week
- Health care and social assistance: 18,902 new claims, up 2,103 percent from the previous week
- Other services: 9,626 new claims, up 2,871 percent from the previous week
- Retail trade: 8,700 new claims, up 1,189 percent from the previous week
- Manufacturing: 5,276 new claims, up 434 percent from the previous week