3/18/2020

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Employment Security Department Commissioner, Suzi LeVine, released the following statement today regarding unprecedented demand for the agency’s services:

“The Employment Security Department tracks and reports employment data across Washington state. In partnership with the federal Department of Labor, we provide this information to the public at regular intervals. This information provides an excellent picture of the health of the economy in Washington state. Typically, the weekly claims for unemployment data is published on Thursdays and Mondays. Based on federal direction, that data lags by approximately 7 to 10 days. For example – data for the week of March 8 through March 14 will come out on March 19.

“We understand that during this unprecedented time, there is desire for more frequent information. Based on current direction from our federal partners, we are going to adhere to that frequency. We will, however, be discussing with our Federal partners the need for more frequent information and will advise if and when that changes.

“However, there are also other indicators that give a sense of the demand and impact we are seeing.

  • Last week, we saw a 150% increase in claims, and we are seeing an even more dramatic increase this week.
  • SharedWork, a layoff aversion program that employers may utilize to reduce the hours of their staff but avoid laying them off, has experienced a more than 500% increase last week from its usual volume.
  • Esd.wa.gov had 280,000 users on Monday and Tuesday, for more than 500,000 users in just two days. Typically, we would expect 30,000 users during that time.
  • On Tuesday alone, we received 19,250 calls which is 827% higher than last Tuesday.

The Department will update and release our state data every Thursday. You can learn more about what we are doing to address the high demand on our website.”

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