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Wash. to Regain Some Long-Term Jobless Benefits

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Michael Dwyer
/
Associated Press

A worsening unemployment rate in Washington state is leading to extended unemployment benefits for some.

The state's Employment Security Department said Monday that the state's three-month unemployment rate average has risen back to 7 percent. That means some additional federally-funded emergency unemployment compensation will restart Sunday, extending benefits for nine weeks.

“I think it’s kind of ironic that one of the side benefits, if you will, of the federal shutdown is that our unemployment rate rose slightly, and in doing so, it reactivated nine weeks of long-term unemployment benefits," said Sheryl Hutchison, communications director of the Employment Security Department. 

Jobless workers in Washington can currently claim up to 54 weeks of unemployment benefits. They had been able to get 63 weeks of benefits until last summer, when the three-month average unemployment rate fell below 7 percent.

Employment Security Commissioner Dale Peinecke says the federal government shutdown in October contributed to the rise in the unemployment rate, triggering the extra federal support.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.
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