May 29, 2020: It has been a bit of a roller coaster since last week. The overall unemployment numbers looking back at the month of April came in at a new record high, while the numbers of people applying for new unemployment claims rose and then fell, as did people continuing to receive unemployment benefits. Similarly, we were also buoyed by the success of our community’s efforts to be granted a variance and enter Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan, but then saw an uptick in new cases of COVID-19 in Spokane County. This turbulence shows that we are not through, or even near the end of this event yet, but gives cause for guarded optimism. We are seeing glimmers of hope as businesses reopen and bring workers back, customers are shopping, and the nice weather brings families out to recreate – all at safe social distances and wearing appropriate PPE. We can expect economic growth to be slow out of the gate, but key industries – including healthcare and manufacturing – are figuring out how to adapt to this new environment and prosper in the new economy. Whatever comes next, the Spokane Workforce Council is working to understand the needs of businesses and workers and help provide the stability that will get us back on course to a thriving economy. Over the past week, we have started to see more of a shift in the local economy as regular unemployment claims have leveled off, and many businesses are stepping up preparations for reopening, including bringing staff back or recruiting new workers. Click here to read this week’s full report.