Seattle Press
Community Log & News Digest
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Washington economy added back jobs during May
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 52,500 jobs in May and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for May decreased from 16.3 percent to 15.1 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).
MonthTotal Jobs(1)2020(2)2019(2)
March 2020-25,4005.1 percent4.5 percent
April 2020-457,800*16.3 percent*4.4 percent
May 202052,50015.1 percent4.4 percent
(1)losses or gains (2)Unemployment Rate

"While the unemployment rate in Washington fell in May, it remained historically high as the state continued to navigate the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Over the past month, a small portion of the jobs lost during the first two months of the pandemic were recovered as the economy begins to re-open across the state.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that April’s previously reported unemployment rate of 15.4 percent was revised upward to 16.3 percent. April’s preliminary estimated loss of 527,000 jobs was revised to a loss of 457,800 jobs.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 14.7 percent in April 2020 to 13.3 percent in May 2020. In May 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.6 percent.

Employment Security paid regular unemployment insurance benefits to 715,542 people in May, an increase of 145,195 over the previous month.

Labor force decreased across the state

The state’s labor force in May was 3,943,500 – a decrease of 19,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 8,500 over the same period.

From May 2019 through May 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 45,300 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 17,900.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16. From April 2020 to May 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 645,100 to 594,300. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 247,900 to 246,300 over the same period. Ten industry sectors expanded and three industry sectors contracted in May

Private sector employment increased by 72,600 and government employment decreased by 20,100. Provided below is a summary of the job gains and losses in all thirteen industry sectors.

Industry sectorJob gains/losses
Construction30,000
Leisure and hospitality22,600
Education and health services7,000
Manufacturing5,800
Professional and business services4,100
Retail trade3,500
Wholesale trade1,200
Other services1,000
Financial services500
Mining and logging100
Transportation, warehousing and utilities-600
Information-2,600
Government-20,100

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment ceases, now turns negative

Washington lost an estimated 408,200 jobs from May 2019 through May 2020, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector contracted by 12.5 percent, down an estimated 360,100 jobs, while public sector employment contracted 8.0 percent with a net loss of 48,100 jobs.

From May 2019 through May 2020, twelve major industry sectors contracted while only the information sector added (+1,400) jobs.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Leisure and hospitality down 160,300 jobs

Education and health services down 55,900 jobs

Government down 48,100 jobs

COVID-19 impacts

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had impact on the May 2020 survey data. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment by industry.

Check out additional COVID-19 related information and FAQs from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Labor market information

ESD has new labor market information and tools, including interactive Tableau graphics to highlight popular information and data. Check it out!

Donald Tr*mp and the Wonderful World of Arithmetic
US President Donald Tr*mp claimed today 20 May 2020 that the US was doing better than Germany in combatting the coronavirus also known as Covid-19. Asked to describe the medical and social impact of the disease, he appeared unable to distinguish clearly between tallies and ratios. Let us clarify.

Postulate: Donald Tr*mp did not create Covid-19 and is not responsible for its introduction into the US.

Postulate: Raw tallies are meaningless due to the large differences in the respective national populations; to make a comparison one must compare ratios.

Fact: As of 20 May, Germany with 80MM residents has had 8,144 confirmed deaths and 178,400 cases (0.1018/1000) and 178400 cases (2.2310/1000).*

Fact: The US with 330MM residents has had 93,439 confirmed deaths (.2831/1000) and 1,551,473 cases (4.7014/1000).

Fact: If the number of deaths or cases in either country is inaccurate by 50%, the relative impact of the disease in the two countries would not change.

Conclusion: Turning to 5th grade arithmetic, that means that compared to Germany, the US has had 2.73 times as many deaths and 2.12 times as many cases per capita. So we have a higher rate of infection and once infected, a higher likelihood of death. In short, you couldn't pick a more likely place to become infected with Covid-19 or to die as a result than in Donald Tr*mp's America.

The cure for this disaster will be available on November 3.

* Source of statistics linked below; values will have changed since time of commentary.

Data source

COVID-19 Update
King County has had 522 deaths among 7,212 cases of COVID-19, compared to 974 among 17,512 statewide, ratios respectively of 1:14 and 1:18, advantage Kingco. Survival rates thus appear higher in urban areas, perhaps due to concentration of treatment facilities and growing experience with the illness among caregivers. On the other hand, cases per 1,000 are higher in KC than in the state as a whole (3.27 vs. 2.33) indicating that infections decline with lower density. It remains unknown how these numbers will change as infections inexorably flow from the cities. Right now it appears that the aloof if not the meek will inherit.

Update 6/10: 580 deaths: 8529 cases.
USPS vs the Competition
Here's a useful comparison between the US Postal Service and other carriers for various items. (Click image for larger views.) This is what anti-USPS politicians want to eliminate to create "space" for corporate interests.

The reason the Founders created the Post Office was to pull the nation together, North and South, urban and rural. It has succeeded for 250 years. It ain't broke; don't "fix" it.

Payroll employment plummets, unemployment rate soars
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy lost 527,000 jobs in April and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for April increased from 5.1 percent to 15.4 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

“The April jobs report numbers confirm what we already expected based on the record number of individuals who have filed for unemployment benefits since March 7,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “While these numbers are dramatic, it is in alignment with what we expected as the state has taken the public health crisis seriously and is abiding by the 'Stay home, stay healthy' order. These losses are likely to continue into May, with a shift coming the other direction as our economy gradually re-opens. Employment Security, along with our partner agencies and state leaders, are committed to helping Washingtonians during this crisis and get back to work as it becomes safe to do so.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that March’s previously reported unemployment rate of 5.1 was confirmed. March’s preliminary estimated loss of 11,100 jobs was revised to a loss of 25,400 jobs.

The national unemployment rate (preliminary) rose from 4.4 percent in March 2020 to 14.7 percent in April 2020. In April 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.6 percent.

Employment Security paid regular unemployment insurance benefits to 599,735 people in April, an increase of 414,277 over the previous month.

Labor force increases as more are added to unemployment rolls

The state’s labor force in April was 3,957,300 – an increase of 66,600 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 3,800 over the same period.

From April 2019 through April 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 67,700 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 6,483.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

From March 2020 to April 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide increased from 198,600 to 610,700. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed increased from 95,900 to 247,800 over the same period.

All thirteen industry sectors contracted in April

Private sector employment decreased by 498,500 and government employment decreased by 28,500.
Year-over-year growth in payroll employment ceases, now turns negative

Washington lost an estimated 485,800 jobs from April 2019 through April 2020, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector contracted by 16.3 percent, down an estimated 463,900 jobs, while public sector employment contracted 3.7 percent with a net loss of 21,900 jobs.

From April 2019 through April 2020, twelve out of the thirteen major industries contracted while only the information sector added jobs.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
Leisure and hospitality down 190,700 jobs
Construction down 74,100 jobs
Education and health services down 59,400 jobs
COVID-19 impacts


Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had impact on the April 2020 survey data. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment by industry.

The information contained in the April report is reflective of workers who worked during or received pay (subject to Unemployment Insurance wages) for the payroll period which includes the 12th day of the month. For the April employment report the survey reference week was for April 12th through April 18th.
Unemployment imposter fraud attempts on the rise
OLYMPIA – Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine recently released this statement regarding the rise in unemployment imposter fraud attempts.

“Since the start of May – and particularly in the past week – the Employment Security Department has seen a significant rise in reports of imposter fraud. This is where bad actors have stolen Washingtonians’ personal information from sources outside of the agency and are using it to apply for unemployment benefits. To be clear – Employment Security has not had a breach of our system and no data has been taken from our agency.

“What we are seeing is that a victims’ personal information has been stolen from some other source, for example in one of the massive external data breaches like the Equifax breach, and is then used by criminals to apply for benefits and attempt to route those payments to their own bank accounts. Many Washingtonians did not know their information had been stolen in the past, and this situation has only illuminated that fact as fraudsters attempt to get unemployment benefits in Washingtonians’ names.

“Our agency has many controls and gates in place to prevent, identify and block fraud, and while we have seen a rise in reports of imposter fraud recently, this is by no means new or unique. States across the country are facing the same situation as criminals take advantage of this crisis and the additional benefits available right now.

“Some additional steps we’re taking as we see this increase in imposter fraud include:

Dramatically increasing the number of agents on the fraud hotline; 100 more of whom just started yesterday.
Hiring more fraud investigators.
Cross matching data with other state agencies and across the country to detect fraud activity.
Working with the U.S. Department of Labor to detect and prevent fraud.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are also holding payments for an additional 1-2 days this week so we can validate claims as authentic. We apologize for the hardship this may cause for valid claimants.

“We are constantly evaluating our processes and systems to ensure we can pay benefits as quickly as possible to those who are qualified while not creating more opportunity for imposter fraud.

“If you believe you are a victim of imposter fraud, please go to esd.wa.gov/fraud and report it immediately using the instructions on that page.

“Additional steps to take and resources to learn more if you believe your identity has been stolen:

Go to the FTC identity theft website, identitytheft.gov. This resource has the most current, detailed step by step process for reporting and protecting people from further victimization.
Request your free credit reports via annualcreditreport.com and review them for other fraudulent activities.
Find additional tips from the Washington State Attorney General at atg.wa.gov/recovering-identity-theft-or-fraud.
“Finally, here are the three most important things for people to know about unemployment imposter fraud:

If someone is a victim of fraud, they will not have to repay the money.
If someone is a victim of fraud and then needs to apply for benefits, they will still be able to do so.
We will only be reaching out to people from the esd.wa.gov domain and only asking people to provide information on our website: esd.wa.gov. We have seen other fraudsters offering to help individuals and businesses by sending them to phony web pages asking for their employees’ information.
“This is such a difficult and unprecedented time, and unfortunately criminals use situations like these to try and gain advantage. While our agency is working around the clock to quickly get benefits out to Washingtonians who need them, we also are maintaining vigilance and taking action to combat fraudulent activities so we may pay out legitimate claims and block those who seek to do harm.”
Washington wins federal grant to support economic recovery from COVID-19
OLYMPIA - Unemployed workers throughout Washington will get jobs to help the state address and recover from the COVID-19 disaster, receive training for in-demand careers and get targeted help with their job search.

The $12 million disaster recovery grant from the U.S. Department of Labor also will help the state’s workforce system adapt to providing services virtually during and after the pandemic.

The grant will:

• Place laid-off workers into jobs to respond to or mitigate effects of the COVID-19 disaster, including positions in emergency management; treatment and quarantine area set-up; unemployment claims intake; behavioral and developmental health, custodial services; delivery; food banks, shelters, and social and human services.

• Provide more workers with:
Career coaches to help create customized re-employment plans.
Immediate help with job search and placement into jobs on the state’s COVID-19 essential jobs list and other high-demand occupations.
Short-term job readiness training for laid-off workers.
Longer-term training to help people enter secure careers as the economy recovers.

• Provide equipment, connectivity and training to help the state’s workforce system adapt to virtual services.
The grant will prioritize help for people of color, those who are low income, and those who live in rural areas. The Employment Security Department, the Washington Workforce Association and the Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board, which wrote the grant together, currently are determining exactly how many people the $12 million will serve, but all agree the grant will kick start the state’s efforts.

"These funds will help Washington begin its pivot from disaster response to economic recovery," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "Washington was among only six states that received $12 million – the highest amount awarded. We’re planning ahead and will apply for more grants to keep cranking up our economic engines."

"Like any good economic recovery plan, ours applies short- and long-term strategies," said Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine. "Our first-rate workforce development system will employ some people immediately and train others for jobs of the future."

The Employment Security Department will distribute the money using a formula based partly on the number of unemployed people in each of the state’s 12 Workforce Development Areas. ESD and the state’s Workforce Development Councils expect the money to be available soon.

"The need out there is so great, and we’re committed to working with our partners to help Washington’s businesses and workers survive these difficult times," said Kevin Perkey. Perkey is chief executive officer of the Workforce Southwest Workforce Development Council and president of the Washington Workforce Association, which represents the 12 WDCs.

"The stakeholders who came together to support this grant, including the Association of Washington Business, Washington State Labor Council, and other state and local agencies made the difference," said Eleni Papadakis, executive director the Washington’s Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board. "Together, we see a future that banks on all Washingtonians accessing a route to economic security."

People who have lost their job through no fault of their own are eligible to benefit under the grant rules. If interested, they should contact their local WorkSource center via phone or email. All WorkSource offices currently are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unemployment benefits drop, hold record levels
OLYMPIA – During the week of April 12-18, there were 82,435 initial and 605,514 total claims for unemployment benefits, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). While initial claims declined 42 percent from the previous week, the total claims continued to grow.

During the week of April 12-18, ESD paid out over $177 million to 352,909 unemployed workers, a $51.3 million increase from the previous week. Since the week ending March 7 when COVID-19 job losses began, the department has paid out nearly $496 million in benefits to Washingtonians.

“It is hard to imagine that the fifth highest week of claims in Washington state history could be considered the calm before the storm, but that is certainly what we saw last week,” said Employment Security Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “Although remaining at historic levels, the initial claims dropped last week before the tsunami of applications began this week when we launched the expanded benefit applications under the federal CARES Act. The updates went live on Saturday night, after which we received more applications in 36-hours than we did during the entire record-breaking week at the end of March. While we know many more are struggling to apply in the crush of volume we’re receiving, we will keep working until everyone gets the money for which they are eligible.”
Payroll employment falls, unemployment rises in March
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy lost 11,100 jobs in March and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for March increased from 3.8 percent to 5.1 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

“The impacts of COVID-19 may not be fully captured in the March report and are more likely to be evident in the April Report”, said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Although we have seen widespread closings of schools, restaurants, and theaters, these actions largely took effect starting the week of March 16th, after most workers would have been counted. As a result, even if some firms started laying off workers as early as the second week of March, many still would have worked or received pay for at least part of the payroll period including the 12th, and thus their loss of employment is not yet fully reflected in the March report.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that February’s previously reported unemployment rate of 3.8 was confirmed. February’s preliminary estimated gain of 3,500 jobs was revised to a gain of 3,900 jobs.

The national unemployment rate (preliminary) rose from 3.5 percent in February 2020 to 4.4 percent in March 2020. In March 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.8 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 185,458 people in March.

Labor force decline is by far the largest month to month decline since 1990

The state’s labor force in March was 3,889,700 – a decrease of 72,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 31,900 over the same period.

From March 2019 through March 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 27,700 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 200.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

From February 2020 to March 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide increased from 151,500 to 197,600. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed increased from 44,700 to 93,400 over the same period.

Five industry sectors expanded and eight contracted

Private sector employment decreased by 11,700 while the public sector increased by 600 jobs in March. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in construction up 2,500 jobs and professional & business services up 1,500 jobs. Also posting increases were information and retail trade, both up 600 jobs. The industries that posted the highest losses were leisure and hospitality down 12,300 jobs, financial activities down 1,500 jobs and, manufacturing down 1,400 jobs. Also posting losses were other services down 700 jobs, wholesale trade down 500 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities down 300 jobs and mining & logging and education & health services both down 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment still up for now

Washington gained an estimated 64,400 jobs from March 2019 through March 2020, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.0 percent, up an estimated 56,400 jobs, while public sector employment rose 1.4 percent with a net gain of 8,000 jobs.

From March 2019 through March 2020, eight out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while five sectors contracted.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Professional & business services with 18,000 new jobs
Construction with 12,900 new jobs
Retail trade with 12,600 new jobs
The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

Manufacturing down 1,600 jobs
Leisure & hospitality down 1,200 jobs
Other services down with 1,100 jobs
COVID-19 impacts

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had impact on the March 2020 survey data. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment by industry. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to contain it. However, it should be noted that the March survey reference periods for both surveys predated many coronavirus-related business and school closures that occurred in the second half of the month.

March data from the establishment and household surveys broadly reflect some of the early effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market. We cannot precisely quantify the effects of the pandemic on the job market in March at this time. However, it is clear the decrease in employment and the increase in unemployment can be ascribed to effects of the illness and efforts to contain the virus.

More from US Dept. of Labor Statistics

What It’s Like to Have COVID-19
These observations by University of Washington Physicians are a good summary of how to respond to possible infection.

What are the most common symptoms of COVID-19?

Experts have identified three main symptoms of this disease: fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), a newly developed dry cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear individually or together. To ensure you’re getting an accurate reading, take your temperature at least 30 minutes after eating, drinking or exercising and at least six hours after taking fever-reducing medications.

What are other COVID-19 symptoms you may feel?

Along with the classic trio of COVID-19 symptoms, you may also experience body aches, fatigue, a runny nose, a sore throat, a loss of your sense of smell or taste, headaches or gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea. These symptoms don’t always occur but, if they do, they’re easy to confuse with the symptoms of a cold, flu or seasonal allergies. The main way to tell the difference between COVID-19 and these other conditions is if your symptoms worsen or don’t improve after about a week.

What does a mild or moderate case of COVID-19 feel like?

In about 80% of known COVID-19 cases, the resulting illness is mild or moderate. This can range from feeling like you just have a bad cold to feeling like you have the flu and can’t get out of bed. Although you may feel unwell, people with a mild or moderate case usually don’t need to be hospitalized and can care for themselves at home. The typical recovery time is one to two weeks.

What does a severe case of COVID-19 feel like?

A severe case of COVID-19 means you require medical attention, either because you’re having trouble breathing or because you’ve developed a complication from the disease like heart failure, pneumonia or a life-threatening bacterial infection called sepsis. A mild or moderate case can develop into a severe one over the course of a few days or hours, and it can take up to six weeks for you to recover. If you’re older than 60, are pregnant or have an existing health condition or weakened immune system, you’re at greater risk of developing a severe illness from COVID-19 — but it can happen to anyone.

When should you go to the emergency room?

When you first start to feel sick, call your doctor for guidance and track your symptoms. You don’t need to go to the hospital unless you’re experiencing emergency warning signs. Things that are considered a medical emergency include having trouble breathing, feeling a persistent pain or pressure in your chest, becoming confused or disoriented, or having your face or lips turn blue. If you can, have someone call the hospital in advance so they can prepare for your visit.

Most primary care clinics remain open for in-person, medically necessary appointments. Most urgent-care are still operating. Please call in advance before traveling to any physician or clinic. To make receiving care easier, you can also choose to see your provider via a video-based telehealth appointment.


(Adapted from University of Washington Medicine.)
Weekly unemployment insurance claims up 843 percent
OLYMPIA – During the week of March 15-21, 133,464 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed with the Employment Security Department (ESD) which was an increase of 119,310 new claims over the previous week.

“This data shows the enormity of the situation unfolding in our state,” said Employment Security Department Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “The velocity and volume of the impact of COVID-19 has created a crisis that is unprecedented in the history of the program – going back to the 1930s when it was established. To address this, I have an amazing team working hard on three very clear priorities: get benefits out more quickly to those who are eligible, expand eligibility for those who can utilize this benefit, and help employers find staff for essential jobs. The entire department is doing everything we can to meet the needs of this situation and our fellow Washingtonians.”

Weekly data breakdown

By industry
Industry sectors experiencing the highest percentage of new claims during March 15-21 were:
Accommodation and food services: 41,309 new claims, up 1,033 percent from the previous week Health care and social assistance: 18,902 new claims, up 2,103 percent from the previous week Other services: 9,626 new claims, up 2,871 percent from the previous week Retail trade: 8,700 new claims, up 1,189 percent from the previous week Manufacturing: 5,276 new claims, up 434 percent from the previous week
By county
Demonstrating the COVID-19 wave washing across the state, Spokane County experienced the highest increase, 455 to 8,766 up 1,826 percent from the week before. King County, the most populous in the state and one that had already started to see a precipitous rise in claims the prior week, saw new claims increase from 5,834 to 37,296 during the week of March 15-21, up 539 percent from the week before. All other counties experienced a spike in new claims, with some of the highest during the same period in:
Pierce County: New claims filed increased from 1,559 to 14,730 up 845 percent from the week before. Snohomish County: New claims filed increased from 1,386 to 13,692 up 888 percent from the week before.

For complete information of weekly new claims by industry sector and county for the year to date, check the weekly unemployment initial claims charts compiled by ESD’s Labor Market & Economic Analysis division. For more information about specific counties, contact one of ESD’s regional local economists.

Governor amplifies state response to COVID-19
As every state across the country faces the spread of COVID-19, I wanted to give you an update on what we're doing in Washington state:
  • The first priority has been to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19 in our communities -- that means millions of Washingtonians are staying home to save lives.
  • WA has dramatically increased testing, and our insurance commissioner directed insurers to waive deductibles and copays. The state will also be covering the costs of tests for those without health insurance.
  • WA is enacting a statewide moratorium on evictions, and public utilities will be suspending shut-offs and waiving late fees.


This is a challenge unlike anything we've faced before. Yet like so many challenges our state and our country have faced, the solution is in our own hands. And if we have each other's backs, we will persevere.

We're coming together to support each other and to make our state safer and healthier. Our first priority has been to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19 in our communities -- that means millions of Washingtonians are staying home to save lives.

Using local health departments, universities, and private labs, we've dramatically increased testing, and our insurance commissioner directed insurers to waive deductibles and copays. The state will also be covering the costs of tests for those without health insurance.

Additionally, I recently announced unprecedented steps to give economic relief to Washingtonians -- because nobody should lose their home because they can't pay rent during this crisis. We're enacting a statewide moratorium on evictions, and public utilities will be suspending shut-offs and waiving late fees.

Washington has in place nation-leading policies like paid family and medical leave and mandated paid sick days. We're using every part of our safety net to support families right now, including continuing to provide daily meals to out-of-school kids who need them.

Our response to COVID-19 must not just be about stopping the spread of the virus and caring for the sick -- it must also be about caring for our vulnerable neighbors and citizens whose livelihoods are impacted by this crisis.

This crisis is far from over. This challenge is unlike anything we've experienced before, but together, we'll meet this challenge with the seriousness and compassion it deserves.

You can see more here of what we're doing in Washington to respond to COVID-19 -- take care, and be safe.

More information about WA response to C-19

Agreement among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote
February 13, 2020 — Republished from nationalpopularvote.com. The National Popular Vote bill will guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Since 2006, the National Popular Vote bill has been enacted by 15 states and the District of Columbia (together possessing 196 electoral votes), including 4 small states (DE, HI, RI, VT), 8 medium-sized states (CO, CT, MD, MA, NJ, NM, OR, WA), and 3 big states (CA, IL, NY).

The bill will take effect when enacted by states with 74 more electoral votes (for a total of 270).

The bill has passed at least one legislative chamber in 9 additional states with 88 electoral votes (AR, AZ, ME, MI, MN, NC, NV, OK, VA), including the Republican-controlled Arizona House and Oklahoma Senate. 3,471 state legislators have endorsed it.

The U.S. Constitution (Article II) gives states exclusive control over awarding their electoral votes:

“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a
Number of Electors....”

The shortcomings of the current system stem from state “winner-take-all” laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in each state.

The winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes is not in the U.S. Constitution. It was not debated at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. It was not mentioned in the Federalist Papers. It was used by only three states in the first presidential election in 1789 (and all three repealed it by 1800).

Because of these state winner-take-all laws, presidential candidates ignore states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. In 2012, all of the general-election campaign events (and virtually all campaign expenditures) were concentrated in the 12 states where Romney’s support was between 45% and 51%. Two-thirds of the events were in four states (OH, FL, VA, IA). Thirty-eight states were ignored, including 12 of the 13 smallest states and almost all rural, agricultural, Southern, Western, and Northeastern states. Similarly, in 2016, virtually all campaign events (94%) were in the 12 states where Trump’s support was between 43% and 51%. Two-thirds of the events (273 of 399) were in just 6 states (OH, FL, VA, NC, PA, MI). A similar pattern prevailed in 2000, 2004, 2008, and is expected in 2020.

State winner-take-all laws have enabled 5 of our 45 Presidents to come into office without winning the most popular votes nationwide. The national popular vote winner also would have been defeated by a shift of 59,393 popular votes in Ohio in 2004 (despite President Bush’s nationwide lead of 3 million votes); 9,246 votes in 1976; 77,726 in 1968; 9,212 in 1960; 20,360 in 1948; and 1,711 votes in 1916.

The National Popular Vote interstate compact will go into effect when enacted by states with a majority of the presidential electors—that is, 270 of 538. After the compact comes into effect, every voter in all 50 states and DC will acquire a direct vote in the choice of all of the presidential electors from all of the states that enacted the compact. The presidential candidate supported by the most voters in all 50 states and DC will thereby win a majority of the presidential electors in the Electoral College (at least 270), and therefore become President.

Under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, the individual voter influences only the choice of the limited number of presidential electors from their own state. Under National Popular Vote, every voter in all 50 states and DC will have a direct vote in choosing 270 (or more) presidential electors.

The National Popular Vote compact would make every person’s vote equal throughout the U.S. It would ensure that every vote, in every state, will matter in every presidential election.

The National Popular Vote compact is a state-based approach that retains the power of the states to control how the President is elected, retains state control of elections, and retains the Electoral College. For additional information, see our book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote are downloadable for free here>. Answers to 131 myths are here.

US Federal Tax Filing and Payment Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020
March 21, 2020—The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can't file by the July 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return.

This filing and payment relief includes:
  • The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers who file and pay their Federal income taxes on April 15, 2020, are automatically extended until July 15, 2020. This relief applies to all individual returns, trusts, and corporations. This relief is automatic, taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify.
  • This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.

Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. You will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15.

Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

State tax returns
This relief only applies to federal income returns and tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2020, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax. Taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details. More information is available at https://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.

Source: https://www.tiaa.org/public/tax-questions-and-tax-information
New unemployment claims up 116 percent March 8-14
OLYMPIA – During the week of March 8-14, 2020 14,154 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed with the Employment Security Department (ESD) which was an increase of 7,606 new claims over the previous week. In King County the number of new initial claims filed increased from 1,837 to 5,834 over the same period.

New unemployment insurance claims are just beginning to rise due to COVID-19 related layoffs

In Washington state, the highest percentage of new claims filed during March 8-14 (week 10 per chart below) over the previous week occurred in the accommodation and food services sector, up 597.3 percent; educational services, up 569.5 percent; arts, entertainment and recreation, up 255.8 percent; and real estate, rental and leasing, up 147.5 percent. Individuals 34 years of age and younger represented the largest group of workers filing new claims.

“A dramatically larger number of employers are announcing coronavirus-related layoffs or are utilizing SharedWork, so we anticipate substantially higher numbers of new claims in the report that will come out on March 26,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “Already this week, we have seen the daily rate of new claims coming in at levels that are similar to the highest weeks of the 2008-2009 recession. Our agency is working in close coordination with the Governor’s office as well as other state and federal agencies to ensure we do everything we can to address this crisis and find every support possible for Washington’s families and economy. Our priorities are to get benefits out more quickly to those who are eligible, help more people become eligible for benefits and help those employers who are hiring get the staff they need right now.”

Gov. Jay Inslee also announced a number of measures on Wednesday to provide relief for businesses, workers and renters.