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Jobless claims go back up

Initial unemployment claims rose back up as November transitioned to December with the Employment Security Department reporting a 10.1 percent increase from the prior week.

There were 24,587 initial claims during the week ending Dec. 5 and a total of 492,533 claims for all unemployment benefit categories, which is up 7.1 percent from the previous week. Statewide claims remain 145 percent above the same week in 2019.

In Kitsap County, initial claims actually decreased from 635 to 602. Kitsap has typically had one of the lowest unemployment rates in Western Washington in recent months.

The state’s five largest counties — King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark and Spokane — all recorded modest increases in initial claims.

Several industry sectors saw increases in initial claims over the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, including manufacturing, construction, health care and social assistance and retail trade.

Construction claims are typical this time of year, the ESD reported, while the health care and social assistance losses were primarily tied to child day care services, general medical and surgial hospitals and services for the elderly and those with disabilities.

The industry sectors with the highest number of claims were accommodationg and food services (4,693 claims, down 1,364); construction (3,569 claims, up 561); health care and social assistance (1,860, down 587); retail trade (1,733 claims, down 335); and administrative, support, waste management and remediative services (1,422 claims, up 371).

The Employment Security Department is approaching $13 billion in payouts since the pandemic began, which has gone to over one million residents of Washington. During the week ending Dec. 5, over $148.8 million was paid to 300,987 individual claims.

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