Initial claims for unemployment benefits remained at historical highs for the week of March 29-April 4, with over 170,063 initial claims filed during the week, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). Although this was a 6.5 percent decrease over the previous week, the number of initial claims filed was a 2,627 percent increase year over year and seven times more than the peak week during the 2008/2009 recession which saw 26,075 weekly initial claims.
In Mason County, there were 1,187 claims last week (3/29/2020 to 4/4/2020), slightly more than the week before’s (3/22/2020 to 3/28/2020) number of 1,178 claims.
During the week of March 29-April 4 ESD paid out $79.4 million to 182,315 individuals across Washington state. In total since the week ending March 16th, the first big week of claims related to COVID-19 job losses, ESD has paid out nearly $150 million in benefits to Washingtonians.