EPHRATA - The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that Washington state leads the nation in unemployment claims.
A map released by the bureau on May 16 shows that nearly 31% of its civilian workforce filing for unemployment to date. The state with the second highest percentage is Nevada at 24.5%.
The news comes as the state releases its latest unemployment figures for the month of April. Last month, Washington state’s unemployment rate was a record 15.4%, and state's economy lost 527,000 jobs last month. It's the highest jobless rate the state has seen since it started keeping comparable records in the 1970s.
April's rate is a significant jump from March's 5.1%, though officials had warned April's numbers would more truly reflect the widespread closing of restaurants and other businesses that started in mid-March. February's unemployment rate was 3.8%.
The previous record was 12.2% in November 1982. All thirteen industry sectors in the state saw losses last month, with the largest drops seen in leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade. County-by-county stats for the month of April have not yet been released.