Initial unemployment claims are up slightly both in Kitsap County and statewide as some areas of Washington are still struggling with a rising number of COVID-19 cases.
In Kitsap, there were 744 initial claims made during the week of June 14 to June 20, the most recent week for which data is available. That’s a small increase from 689 claims made the previous week.
State-level data paints a similar picture with 29,612 initial regular unemployment claims, a 2 percent increase from the prior week and a total of 718,615 claims in all unemployment categories, which is a 3.3 percent increase. King and Snohomish Counties saw slight decreases in initial claims while Pierce, Spokane and Clark Counties all saw increases.
Although the numbers are far below the peak of late March and early April, unemployment activity does remain at historically high levels — 450 percent higher than the same week in 2019.
“Although we did see a very slight increase in initial claims this week, we have held fairly steady the last three weeks at around 29,000 new unemployment claims,” said Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “While this is a significant drop from our peak earlier in the crisis, we have leveled off at what are still record high numbers – exceeding what we saw in the peak of the recession. ESD is committed to helping eligible Washingtonians get unemployment benefits as quickly as possible and helping both workers and employers navigate the changing workforce landscape.”
Since the week ending March 7, the Washington State ESD has had a total of 2,154,353 initial claims filed and a total of 1,119,821 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits. 875,979 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid and ESD has paid out over $6.5 billion in benefits.
The industries seeing the highest number of initial claims for the week of June 14 to June 20 were health care and social assistance (3,446 initial regular claims); accommodation and food services (3,401 initial regular claims); manufacturing (3,299 regular initial claims); construction (2,450 initial regular claims); retail trade (2,361 initial regular claims).