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Report: Seattle has the nation’s biggest growth in unemployment due to COVID-19

A new WalletHub report ranks Seattle as the number one city in America where rising unemployment is most impacted by COVID-19.

In the report, WalletHub compared 180 of the nation’s largest cities, including the 150 most populated cities, and at least one of the most populated cities in each state. The cities were compared using data measuring the unemployment growth for the latest month for which data is available – March 2020 – to both March 2019 and January 2020.

This comparison was then used to show the overall impact since last year and since the beginning of this year, or “Growth in Unemployment in March 2020 vs. March 2019 and Growth in Unemployment in March 2020 vs. January 2020.”

Across the first metric (March 2020 vs. March 2019), Seattle’s 86.92% unemployment growth puts the city at the top of the list. Looking at the second metric (March 2020 vs. January 2020), Seattle ranks third in the country with 105.92% unemployment growth.

It is clear that city budgets are affected by COVID-19 and the attendant unemployment spike.

Many cities are experiencing massive budget deficits because of the coronavirus crisis, and this will only become more difficult to manage as cities continue to struggle to support affected industries,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Without federal help, many cities may be forced to make big cuts to their budgets, to the detriment of education, recreational programs and other important services that take a backseat to immediate health concerns.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced last Friday that Seattle is set to receive $14 million in federal grants, which includes: $5,640,185 from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), $4,983,977 from an Older Americans Act Grant, $2,829,807 from an Emergency Solutions Grant, $426,000 from Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), and $146,669 from Medicare Title XIX.

Governor Inslee announced on Monday that $131 million in federal funding has been earmarked for Seattle in the CARES Act passed by Congress. The funds will be distributed in the weeks ahead.

For city and counties with populations under 500,000 that were ineligible to receive direct funding under the CARES Act, each county will receive a minimum distribution of $250,000 and each city will receive a minimum distribution of $25,000 from the state. Inslee’s office said that specific allocations will be released in the coming days.


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