Initial regular claims for state unemployment benefits increase slightly from the previous week

According to figures released Thursday from the Washington Employment Security Department, from June 14-20 there were 29,612 initial regular unemployment claims (up 2.0% from the prior week) and 718,615 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 3.3 % from the prior week) filed by Washington residents.

Initial regular claims applications remain at unprecedented elevated levels and are at 450 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.  Both Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims continued to decline over the previous week.

ESD paid out over $532.9 million for 410,836 individual claims – an increase of $78.2 million for 10,957 more individual claims from the prior week.

In Snohomish County, initial regular claims filed decreased from 3,697 to 3,458, down 6% from the week before.

Unemployment claim type Week of

June 14-June 20

Week of

June 7-June 13

Week of

May 31-June 6

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims 29,612 29,028 29,173
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims 7,813 9,346 10,569
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims 7,044 7,650 9,195
Continued/ongoing weekly claims 674,146 649,508 680,116
Total claims 718,615 695,532 729,053

Since the week ending March 7 when COVID-19 job losses began:

  • A total of 2,154,353 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic (1,346,541 regular unemployment insurance, 433,009 PUA and 374,803 PEUC)
  • A total of 1,119,821 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits
  • ESD has paid out over $6.5 billion in benefits
  • 875,979 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid

“Although we did see a very slight increase in initial claims this week, we have held fairly steady the last three weeks at around 29,000 new unemployment claims,” said ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “While this is a significant drop from our peak earlier in the crisis, we have leveled off at what are still record high numbers — exceeding what we saw in the peak of the recession. ESD is committed to helping eligible Washingtonians get unemployment benefits as quickly as possible and helping both workers and employers navigate the changing workforce landscape.”

Below is a 16-week summary of statewide initial claims filed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis:

16 week claims table June 14-20

16 week summary line chart June 14-20

Weekly data breakdown

By industry

Industry sectors experiencing the highest number of initial claims during June 14- June 20 were:

  • Health care and social assistance: 3,446 initial regular claims, down 137 (-4%) from the previous week
  • Accommodation and food services: 3,401 initial regular claims, up 161 (+5%) from previous week
  • Manufacturing: 3,299 regular initial claims, down 372 (-10%) from the previous week
  • Construction: 2,450 initial regular claims, up 295 (14%) from the previous week
  • Retail trade: 2,361 initial regular claims, down 50 (-2%) from previous week

By occupation

  • Management occupations:  3,438 regular initial claims, up 40 (+1%) from the previous week
  • Food preparation and serving: 3,236 regular initial claims, up 29 (+1%) from previous week
  • Office and administrative support:  2,988 regular initial claims, up 141 (+5%) from previous week
  • Construction and extraction occupations:  2,732 regular initial claims, up 283 (+12%) from the previous week
  • Production occupations:  2,171 regular initial claims, up 138 (+7%) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations: 2,105 regular initial claims, up 69 (+3%) from the previous week

Demographic breakdown

During the week of June 14- June 20:

  • By gender: 50.3% (14,881) of the initial regular claims were filed by males while 49.3 percent (14,613) were filed by females
  • By age group: 27.3% (8,084) of initial regular claims were filed by the 25-34 years old age group, followed by 20.7 percent (6,117) by the 35-44 years old age group and 16.3 percent (4,821) by the 45-54 years old age group.
  • By education level: 30.5% (9,029) of initial regular claims were filed by individuals with a high school diploma, included GED, followed by 24.1 percent (7,149) with some college and 16.1% (4,753) with a bachelor’s degree.
  • By race/ethnicity: 60.2% (17,837) of initial regular claims were filed by Caucasians, followed by 8.1 percent (2,394) filed by Asians, 6.3 percent filed by Latino/Hispanics (1,860) and 6.0 percent filed by Black/African Americans (1,769).
  • By disability status: 2.8% (822) of initial regular claims were from individuals identified as having a disability, including 0.8 percent (230) who identified themselves as disabled veterans.
  • By veteran’s status: 5.2% (1,542) of initial regular claims were filed by veterans, including 120 initial regular claims from individuals eligible for veterans benefits due to family relations with a veteran.

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