Clark County unemployment sees drastic — and expected — increase in April

The latest unemployment statistics for Washington state shows the effects of industry shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as locally Clark County saw an increase of 9.5 percentage points.

The Washington State Employment Security Department released data Tuesday, May 26, showing non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates statewide for April. Those numbers showed Clark County’s unemployment rate was 13.8 percent, up from 4.3 percent in March.

Cowlitz County saw a greater percentage-point increase with April numbers showing 15.7 percent unemployment, up from 5.6 percent in March.

Both Clark and Cowlitz counties are relatively close to the statewide unemployment rate of 15.8 percent in April, which shot up from 5.3 percent in March. Western Washington was hit particularly hard, with the highest rate at 20.2 percent in Snohomish County.

For actual numbers, Clark County saw the number of unemployed increase by more than 23,000 between March and April, according to ESD data. Cowlitz County saw close to 5,000 more unemployed in the same time period.

Statewide, Washington saw a loss of 527,000 jobs from March to April, with significant decreases in leisure and hospitality; construction; and education and health services being some of the hardest-hit.

April’s numbers appear to show greater significant effects from COVID-19 closures, as prior months’’ numbers did not show as great of a shift, statewide or locally. Between February and March, Clark County’s unemployment rate actually decreased from 4.6 to 4.3 percent. Cowlitz County showed a similar decrease, from 5.9 to 5.6 percent.

Statewide unemployment did begin showing signs of growing earlier, however, rising from 4.2 to 5.3 percent between February and March, though still significantly less than the more than 10-percentage-point increase shown in the latest monthly numbers.

— The Reflector

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