Unemployment numbers on the rise - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Unemployment numbers on the rise

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- More than 500,000 Washingtonians are collecting unemployment this year...beating out last year's record...an increase of about 25,000 more people than last year.

The unemployment number has risen each year since 2008, and since unemployment benefits have been extended, it may be just as high next year.

In Washington unemployment collections totaled nearly $4.7-billion; a new record for the state beating out last year's $4-billion.

Candace Bluechel, from WorkSource Columbia Basin says, "we're probably still going to be healthier than other counties when it comes to these numbers. We were not hit as hard as other areas."

For the month of November, Benton and Franklin Counties saw over 6,323 people file claims totaling to about $6.5 million. In Yakima, month of October saw more than 6,578 people with claims adding up to over $7.3 million.

"There are 6,000 people who are receiving claims but there's also that bunch of folks, thousands of folks who have exhausted or never qualified who are also looking for work," says Bluechel. She also says WorkSource Columbia Basin has about 500 people coming in looking for jobs.

Kevin Haynes has been unemployed for two months. He says "I've searched statewide, actually searched in Oregon and in Washington and just tearing them apart, trying to find something."

Guadalupe Prado is also searching for a job. He says, "I've been checking in, in-person, I've been calling in. I have not gotten one interview."

This year, Bluechel says more people are taking advantage of their workshops. The industries that were hit the hardest were construction, administration, retail and government jobs.

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