Unemployment claims doubled last week as coronavirus shutters businesses

Numbers like this haven’t been seen since height of the Great Recession.

The coronavirus outbreak generated a groundswell of new unemployment claims last week, as service, arts and education workers were laid off.

During the week of March 8, there were 14,154 new claims for unemployment benefits filed with the state’s Employment Security Department. It marks a 116 percent increase amid orders for bars, schools, in-person dining at restaurants and more businesses to shut down in an attempt to reduce the number of Covid-19 infections.

The Department is expecting even greater numbers of coronavirus-related layoffs in it’s next report which will come out on March 26. The daily rate of new claims is similar to the worst weeks of the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

“Our agency is working in close coordination with the Governor’s office as well as other state and federal agencies to ensure we do everything we can to address this crisis and find every support possible for Washington’s families and economy,” said the Department’s Commissioner Suzi LeVine in a press release.

Dramatic increases in filings were concentrated in a few areas. Food service workers claims jumped nearly 600 percent, with educational workers filings not far behind with a nearly 570 percent increase. Entertainment and recreation filings spiked roughly 256 percent, and real estate, rental and leasing increased 147 percent. Workers under 35 represented the largest group filing new claims.

Economists have been sounding the alarm over the outbreak causing a new recession which could cost millions of jobs. The Economic Policy Institute expects 3 million jobs to disappear by summer, and more than 80 million could be impacted nationwide, according to a Moody’s report.

Low-wage workers which have been unable to save up a personal safety net amid years of skyrocketing rents will likely be hit hardest.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline. Courtesy image
Drug courts, officer de-escalation programs impacted by MIDD cuts

The fund provides money for mental illness and drug dependency programs across King County.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

From the Issaquah Black Lives Matter demonstration, Friday, June 12. Photo by William Shaw
Issaquah starts conversations on action plan for police accountability, equity

While contrasting, passionate ideas were expressed by the speakers at the June 29 meeting, Mayor Mary Lou Pauly said it left her optimistic that they were all closer than they think on public safety.

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

Most Read