The map above, from a Pew Stateline post on rising unemployment, shows that Washington is among the hardest-hit states, with the deep red signifying an estimated unemployment rate of 20% and higher. One variable, of course, is the timing of a government stay-at-home order.
As stay-at-home orders spread to once-resistant states in the South, unemployment numbers are surging and state systems to handle the jobless claims are overwhelmed, keeping desperately needed checks out of the hands of sidelined workers.
In another couple of weeks, Washington might be less an outlier; the state just responded more quickly than some others, though later than some. The claims volume has overwhelmed many state systems.
There’s plenty of blame to go around as an unprecedented tide of claims in the past month hit outdated systems from coast to coast and states try everything from pleading for volunteer computer programmers to calling out the National Guard to answer phones…
Getting a handle on processing the claims has taken weeks, even in states such as Illinois and Connecticut with some of the first stay-at-home orders.
Over the weekend, a “tsunami of claims” caused Washington’s UI website to crash. But that experience is clearly not unique to Washington, as the Pew report makes clear.