Virus Outbreak US

A sign informs visitors that Space Needle is closed, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Seattle. The iconic landmark and tourist attraction closed Friday and will remain so through the end of March due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Washington state. The vast majority of people recover from the new coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness.

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(The Center Square) – The number of unemployment claims filed last week in the state of Washington spiked by more than nine times the prior week, according to seasonally unadjusted numbers reported Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

According to the data, 133,478 Washington residents filed for unemployment in the week that ended March 21.

That's up 119,238 claims from the 14,240 filed the week ending March 14, according to the department.

Nationally, nearly 3.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, a record number as businesses were forced to shut down to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"This large increase in unemployment claims was not unexpected, and results from the recognition by Americans across the country that we have had to temporarily halt certain activities in order to defeat the coronavirus," U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said.

Washington has been under a stay at home order since Tuesday and nonessential businesses forced to close in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Unemployment claims are expected to spike even more as more workers are forced to stay home.

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

This article originally ran on thecentersquare.com.

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