Virus shutdowns cause big spike in Washington jobless claims

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state saw an 843% week-over-week increase in claims for unemployment benefits last week as businesses started to temporarily close under state-mandated orders to slow the spread of coronavirus. Numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor and the state Employment Security Department showed that that 133,464 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed with the state during the week of March 15-21, an increase of 119,310 new claims over the previous week.  Nationally, nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — almost five times the previous record set in 1982.