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OKANOGAN COUNTY, Wash. — The number of Okanogan County residents filing first-time unemployment benefits claims rose dramatically last week. 

According to data released by the Employment Security Department: during the week of November 15 – 21, county residents filed 159 first-time claims, up 104% from the previous week. Most of Governor Inslee's new restrictions on businesses and others in the state went into effect on Tuesday, November 17th.

First-time claims statewide were up nearly 80% from the previous week. From the data available after business shutdowns in March, it's clear that next week's data will likely show a skyrocket increase in the number of initial claims, as the shocks of increased corona-virus related restrictions are felt.

From March 8th of this year, ESD has paid out more than $12.5 billion in benefits to over 1 million Washingtonians.

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