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Hundreds of Washington state workers furloughed over shutdown

unemploymentOLYMPIA — More than 400 state workers were furloughed Tuesday and another 450 had their hours reduced because of the federal government shutdown, the state Employment Security Department said.

The ESD, which processes unemployment claims, gets about 87 percent of its funding from the federal government, the Seattle Times said.

Sheryl Hutchison, a spokeswoman for the agency, told the Times that because of the federal shutdown, 418 state workers were furloughed and another 450 had their hours reduced.

The ESD is using state funds to pay the staff needed to keep processing unemployment claims. As the Times point out, the furloughed state workers ironically will now have to file for unemployment benefits from the same agency that furloughed them.

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