The ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has already had a profound effect on Clark County’s job market, and the impact is likely to get worse in the coming weeks as the newest round of public containment measures make themselves felt.
Some nonessential businesses may find ways to continue operations with employees working from home, but others depend on physically staffed locations and will have no choice but to stay closed while Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order is in place.
Regional labor economist Scott Bailey releases a monthly report summarizing data from the state Employment Security Department. The full impact of the coronavirus on local jobs likely won’t be seen until the March report comes out in mid-April, but a weekly report released on Thursday painted a stark picture of where things are headed.
Clark County initial unemployment claims jumped 1,575 percent to 6,249, compared with 373 claims the prior week. Year-to-date claims were up 2,249 percent compared with the same point in 2019.
Washington and Oregon’s unemployment insurance programs will likely require support from the federal government to avoid becoming overwhelmed, Bailey said, and the states will also suffer diminished revenue from sales and income taxes.