Washngton’s Initial unemployment insurance claims shot up 54.5 percent the week of Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, reported the state Employment Security Department on Thursday, Jan. 7.

For the week, 29,651 state residents filed initial claims, while 557,419 total claims were filed for all unemployment benefit categories — up 12.1 percent from the previous week.

Initial regular claims applications are 201 percent above last year’s weekly number, ESD indicated. 

The department noted the increase in initial regular claims affected all industries across the board, though seasonal layoffs in the construction industry and higher claims in the accommodation and food services industries fueled the largest increases for the week. 

Thurston County, likewise, didn’t escape the unemployment onslaught. Initial unemployment claims jumped 57 percent from 664 the week of Dec. 13-19 to 1,042 the following week. That was the highest total since the week of Nov. 15-21 when 1,130 residents filed for initial unemployment claims.

By county industry for the week, food services and drinking places accounted for 106 claims, followed by specialty trade contractors with 96 claims and heavy and civil engineering construction with 49.

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