State Relations

April 30, 2020

State forecast shows increase in unemployment, but COVID-19 impacts not yet available

Today, the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council provided an update on the state’s fiscal reality and outlook prior to the usual quarterly forecast scheduled in June. The forecast is based on February numbers and incorporates the Governor’s budget vetoes. Due to normal delays in fiscal reporting, the forecast does not yet show a complete picture of the economic impacts of COVID-19 since shutdowns began in March.

Revenue collections for the state’s General Fund from March 11–April 10 were $3.5 million (0.2%) lower than the February forecast. In total, the collections since February were reported to be $6.1 million above the forecast. However, the numbers reflect February’s taxable activity, so do not show the impact of COVID-19.

Additionally, the state’s unemployment rate increased to 5.1% in March from 3.8% in February. This rate is based on numbers from early March before COVID-19 distancing measures were in place. Since then, claims for unemployment insurance have reportedly climbed to unprecedented levels.

In June, the quarterly economic and revenue forecast will be released as usual. Revenue collections will be significantly impacted by COVID-19.  Many sectors have already seen substantial hits, including manufacturing, a large economic driver in our region. It remains to be seen what these impacts will look like for the UW.

To view the complete and in-depth Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council April report, click here.

The UW community continues to navigate through these difficult and confusing times, and resources have been developed to help guide students, faculty, and staff. For the many questions and concerns that have emerged, please visit the UW’s COVID-19 FAQ page for updates as they become available. The pages includes resources, situation updates, call center information, and more.