Nearly 3,000 Yakima County residents filed first-time claims for unemployment last week as the coronavirus pandemic continues, according to the state Employment Security Department.
Numbers released Thursday showed that 2,991 residents filed initial claims last week, an increase of 235 — or 8% — from the week ending May 2. But it is still lower than the 3,477 who filed for unemployment the week ending April 25.
The number is 1,042% more than the same time last year, when only 262 people filed initial claims, according to state data.
“It is unprecedented with the number of claims,” said Don Meseck, ESD’s regional labor economist.
Health care and social assistance workers filed the most claims last week, with 605, Meseck said. They were followed by agricultural, forestry, fishing and hunting workers, with 355 claims, and educational service workers, who filed 316 claims.
Meseck said the large number of health workers is likely related to the shutdowns in nonemergency services, such as routine dentist appointments and chiropractor visits, tied to Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.
Continuing unemployment claims in Yakima County increased by 4.7%, from 14,428 the week before to 15,108 last week, according to state data.