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Washington sees record unemployment rate of 15.4% in April

All thirteen industry sectors in Washington state saw job losses last month.

Washington state's unemployment rate was a record 15.4%, and the state's economy lost 527,000 jobs in April, according to the state Employment Security Department (ESD). 

It's the highest jobless rate the state has seen since it started keeping comparable records in the 1970s.

April’s rate is a significant jump from March’s 5.1%, though officials had warned April’s numbers would more truly reflect the widespread closing of restaurants and other businesses that started in mid-March. February’s unemployment rate was 3.8%. The previous record was 12.2% in November 1982.

The national unemployment rate increased to 14.7% in April 2020, the highest rate since the Great Depression.

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“While these numbers are dramatic, it is in alignment with what we expected as the state has taken the public health crisis seriously and is abiding by the 'Stay Home, Stay Healthy' order. These losses are likely to continue into May, with a shift coming the other direction as our economy gradually re-opens,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine.

All thirteen industry sectors in the state saw losses last month, with the largest drops seen in leisure and hospitality (177,000 job losses), construction (81,000 job losses), education and health services (66,700 job losses), and retail trade (45,600 job losses).

The ESD said the state lost an estimated 485,800 jobs from April 2019 through April 2020.

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