Prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Mason County had a small drop in its unemployment rate. The County’s February unemployment rate, according to preliminary figures from Washington State Employment Security, was 6.2 percent. That’s down one-tenth of a percentage point from January’s revised rate of 6.3 percent and down nearly two percent (1.8%) from February 2019’s rate of 8 percent. The rate is expected to substantially increase in March with only essential businesses open under Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home. Stay Healthy.” order.
Last week, MasonWebTV Powered by HCC reported an 843 percent increase in new claims for unemployment in the state. During the week of March 15 to March 21, there were 865 claims for unemployment in Mason County. The week before that (March 8 to March 14) the number was 124. And the first week in March, there were 60 claims for unemployment in the county.
February unemployment rate in adjacent counties saw similar decreases with the exception of Grays Harbor County where the unemployment rate went down a half a percent to 7.1 percent. Kitsap (4.2%) and Lewis (6.4%) counties saw decreases of two-tenths. And the February unemployment rate in Jefferson (5.6%), Pierce (5%), and Thurston (4.7%) counties dropped one-tenth of a percent.