The COVID-Recession & Recovery series is done by SJI on behalf of the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development to inform the City strategies as it collaborates with the Workforce Development Council to plan our regional recovery from this unprecedented economic shutdown and recession. 

The three-part series is as follows:

Part One: COVID Recession & Recovery

This first brief is a snapshot of the first eight weeks of the shutdown. The data is initial unemployment claims from the Washington Employment Security Department from March 8th through May 9th, 2020. It is preliminary. ESD had to shift gears very rapidly, moving its staff entirely remote while processing 28 more times the number of applications than it had a mere 6 weeks before and many people had difficulty filing in the initial weeks. In addition, the profile of who is being laid off will change overtime as employers adjust or fail.

Part Two: Adapting to the COVID-19 Environment

This brief assesses the capacity of the Seattle/King County workforce system to support those in the most vulnerable position during the crisis and its aftermath to re-enter the labor market. It also offers some guidance for how organizations and the system can successfully respond to the COVID-19 unemployment crisis.


The third brief identifies skill sets from occupations that are in demand or recovering and what skills from hard-hit occupations can be crosswalked into those occupations to inform targeting and support to help job seekers build on their strengths as they transition to new career paths. 

Get more insights from the SJI Research & Policy Team! Learn more about our areas of focus and read the latest reports: