Latest data shows Snohomish County with highest unemployment rate in Washington

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. -- The latest unemployment rate is hard to stomach. Counties like Snohomish, Skagit and Grays Harbor are among some of the worst hit.

On Wednesday, Q13 FOX spoke with a server in Snohomish County who was laid off from Cask & Trotter in Lynnwood almost 2 months ago.

“Even without rent trying to survive it’s been really hard,” Amanda said.

Amanda requested not to give her last name but she says she’s faced so many delays filing for unemployment benefits that she’s only received one week’s worth of pay so far.

“It was weird and difficult process for me when I reached out for help I didn’t get help I couldn’t get anyone on the phone,” Amanda said.

King County’s unemployment rate is just under 15% and most of the surrounding counties across Western Washington have higher rates.

Snohomish County has the largest chunk of unemployed people in the state reaching around 20% in April.

“At some point, there is just not enough money to pay people to do no work,” Cask & Trotter Owner Robert Carson said.

Carson says boosting online orders, outreach on social media and changing menu options are keeping his business alive in a county that has yet to get the green light on dine-in services under phase 2 of reopening.

“Now we are doing full family menus and that has been the most popular,” Carson said.

Carson was hoping for phase 2 to start June 1st in places like King and Snohomish counties but that may not happen. As of Wednesday a spokesperson for the Snohomish County Health District saying COVID-19 transmission has not slowed down enough to meet the threshold set to move on to phase 2.

Carson is disappointed but says he will survive.

“We’ve actually created a new customer base with these online platforms,” Carson said.

In fact, he’s already rehired many of the employees he initially laid off.

“At this point, we’ve brought back anyone not eligible for unemployment and they are back on the payroll,” Carson said.

Carson’s goal is to bring back his full staff including Amanda under phase 2.

Many businesses are planning to do the same hopefully bringing Snohomish County’s record unemployment rate down.

“We are kind of hoping we will come back as strong or stronger than we were before,” Carson said.

Carson says even under phase 2 restaurants will be struggling because they are only allowed to fill their restaurants at 50% capacity. That is why expanding online orders will be crucial for many restaurants.