Washington sees 31 percent spike in unemployment claims

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Washington saw a 31 spike in new unemployment claims last week, according to federal labor data.

The state had 145,228 initial unemployment claims filed in the week ending May 16, up over 34,000 claims from the prior week.

Washington has had over 1.2 million new jobless claims in the nine weeks since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

According to 50economy.org, Washington’s real-time unemployment rate was 33.8 percent through May 9.

Nationally, the jobless total for the past nine weeks tops 38 million, with an additional 2.44 million workers filing claims during the week ending May 16.

Several Washington counties have been allowed to move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-step reopening plan.

Under Phase 2, counties can allow some restaurants and bars to reopen with strict social distancing and occupancy requirements in place.

“Counties are now eligible to apply if they have less than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day span,” the governor’s office said.

While some businesses are beginning to reopen, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson this week announced the state was suing two gyms for operating despite state orders to stay shuttered.

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