OLYMPIA — The Washington agency that processes unemployment claims is planning layoffs of its own.
The Employment Security Department issued notice Friday that it will cut 222 jobs in January. Agency spokeswoman Sheryl Hutchison says more layoffs are expected next summer.
Hutchison said federal funding is on the decline. The agency has already reduced its workforce by 300 positions, with the conclusion of many temporary jobs, some resignations and about 40 layoffs.
Hutchison warns that the smaller staffing levels could mean longer wait times for people seeking help from the agency. The department’s workload remains high, with the state’s unemployment rate still above 9 percent.
The department employed about 2,600 people as of June 30, 2010.