OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state’s unemployment rate shot up to 15.4% in April and the state’s economy lost 527,000 jobs in the month as a result of the economic downturn from the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s the highest jobless rate the state has seen since it started keeping records in the 1970s. The previous record was 12.2% in November 1982, said Paul Turek, an economist for the state’s Employment Security Department.
April’s rate, released Wednesday, 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, which began in mid-March.
February’s unemployment rate was 3.8%.