Who gets counted as unemployed?
esd.wa.gov gives several factors that decide whether people are eligable for unemployment.

Are you eligible for benefits?

Unemployment insurance is designed to assist workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. It is 100 percent funded by employers through payroll taxes.

Benefits are not based on financial need. Although weekly benefits do not completely replace your regular earnings, they can help you meet expenses until you find a new job.

We encourage you to apply during the first week you become unemployed.

We decide if you are eligible for unemployment benefits based on your employment history and the reason you became unemployed.


You must have 680 hours of covered employment in your base year to meet the initial requirements to qualify for a claim.  You must also have wages in Washington in order to file your unemployment claim against the state of Washington.

You need to give us the reason you became unemployed.

  • You are probably eligible if your employer laid you off for lack of work.
  • We have to make a decision about your eligibility if you voluntarily quit your job, were fired or suspended by your employer, or are on a leave of absence.
  • We will get information about your separation from both you and your employer. Both you and your employer have an opportunity to respond to each other's version of the separation. We will then issue a written decision based on the information we gathered.

You must be physically able to work, available for work, and actively seeking suitable work.
Poverty and Welfare Politics and Policy in U.S. »Poverty and Welfare Politics and Policy in U.S.
Preventing Poverty »Preventing Poverty
Who gets counted as unemployed?
Government defines unemployment »Government defines unemployment
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