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Washington unemployment rates by county released for April 2020

Unemployment numbers continue to rise across Washington state amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Employment Security Department is now displaying the unemployment rates by county, and has posted employment data for last month online.

The highest individual county rate in April 2020 was Snohomish County at 20.2%, followed closely by Grays Harbor and Skagit counties with 19.4% and 19.1%, respectively. The lowest rate was Whitman County at 6.6%.

ESD says that unemployment rates at the county level are not seasonally adjusted as the sample size is too small for the additional analysis. It warns that the county rates should not be compared directly to the seasonally adjusted statewide rate, announced last week at 15.4%.

Nationwide, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2020 was 14.7%.

The monthly employment report on Washington’s job market includes the unemployment rate statewide and for the nation, the number of people in Washington’s workforce, and the number of jobs by industry. View the April 2020 monthly employment report online here. For county-level data, check the map here. For charts and graphs at the national level, check the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ summary.

Hundreds of millions in unemployment benefits paid to fraudsters

Washington state was recently a target of imposter fraud, where fraudsters have stolen personal information and used it to apply for unemployment benefits. ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine has said the fraud attempts are not due to a data breach at the department. LeVine believes Washington was a target due to the quick implementation of additional benefits provided under the federal CARES Act.

“We were one of the first states to implement the provisions in the federal CARES Act that allows people who had previously been ineligible, such as those who are independent contractors and those who are self-employed workers, to be able to access the benefits, as well as access for all unemployment benefit recipients the additional $600 per week per person that continues to be available,” LeVine told Seattle’s Morning News.

If you are a victim of fraud, you should immediately report it to the ESD and notify your employer. Learn more about imposter fraud and report a case on the ESD’s website here. The agency also provides details on other reporting steps customers can take to help prevent and stop fraud attempts.

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