Claims for Unemployment Increased almost 20%

During the week of May 3-9, there were 109,425 initial regular unemployment claims (an increase of 8,663 from the previous week) and 1,301,564 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (an increase of 215,533 from the previous week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

Claims for unemployment in Mason County last week (May 5, 2020 to May 9, 2020) were 736; up from 687 the week before (April 26, 2020 to May 2, 2020).

ESD paid out over $767 million (an increase of almost $130 million from the previous week) for 538,635 individual claims (an increase of 34,496 from the previous week).

Unemployment claim typeWeek of  May 3-9Week of April 26-May 2Week of April 19-25
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims109,425100,762137,605
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims55,91159,234190,948
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims47,62640,267168,165
Continued/ongoing weekly claims1,088,602885,768959,190
Total claims1,301,5641,086,0311,455,908

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

  • A total of 1,775,629 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic (1,135,046 regular unemployment insurance, 343,665 PUA and 296,918 PEUC)
  • A total of 1,027,292 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits
  • ESD has paid out nearly $2.9 billion in benefits to Washingtonians
  • 751,149 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid

“We at ESD are incredibly proud to have paid out nearly $2.9 billion in benefits to Washingtonians over the past ten weeks – money that is vital to feeding people’s families, paying bills and paying rent. This is what drives us every day as we work to process the many tens of thousands of claims coming in each week,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “Yet even as we have delivered benefits to hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians, we know others are still waiting. On Monday, I announced the launch of Operation 100% – our push to get all benefits to Washingtonians who are eligible for and want to receive them. This effort is focused on approximately 50,000 individuals who have issues on their claims that need to be resolved by one of our staff. By doubling down on processing these claims for those who have been waiting, and providing radical transparency around our efforts, Employment Security is turning a laser focus to getting all eligible Washingtonians the benefits they need during this unprecedented crisis.”

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

10 week initial regular claims summary table May 3-9
Initial regular claims 10 week summary line chart May 3-9
Statewide Total Claims line chart May 3-9

Weekly data breakdown

By industryIndustry sectors experiencing the highest number of initial claims during May 3-9 were:

  • Healthcare and social assistance: 13,340 initial claims, up 3,068 initial claims (30 percent) from the previous week
  • Educational services: 10,165 initial claims, up 5,905 initial claims (139 percent) from previous week
  • Retail trade: 8,965 initial claims, up 476 initial claims (6 percent) from previous week
  • Manufacturing: 7,894 initial claims, up 2,485 initial claims (46 percent) from the previous week
  • Accommodation and food services: 6,355 initial claims, down 2,080 initial claims (25 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous in the state saw initial claims increase from 31,550 to 37,701 during the week of May 3-9, up 19 percent from the week before.

Other counties with the largest number of initial claims during the week were:

  • Pierce County: Initial claims filed increased from 12,813 to 12,938 up 1 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial claims filed increased from 10,864 to 11,677 up 7 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial claims filed increased from 6,056 to 6,594 up 15 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial claims filed increased from 4,842 to 4,905 up 1 percent from the week before.

Demographic breakdown – complete charts are provided in Appendix A below (This information is asked during the application process).

During the week of May 3-9:

  • By gender: 52.8 percent (57,733) of the initial claims were filed by males while 46.6 percent (51,008) were filed by females
  • By age group: 27.2 percent (29,701) of initial claims were filed by the 45-54 year old age group, followed by 21.8 percent (23,854) by the 35-44 year old age group and 19.9 percent (21,810) by the 54-64 year old age group.
  • By race/ethnicity: 65.0 percent (72,071) of initial claims were filed by Caucasians, followed by 5.7 percent (6,199) filed by Asian Americans and 5.6 percent filed by Latino/Hispanics (6,099).
  • By disability status: 1.5 percent (1,660) of initial regular claims were from individuals identified as having a disability, including 0.4 percent (429) who identified themselves as disabled veterans.
  • By veterans status: 3.0 percent (3,249) of initial regular claims were filed by veterans, including 369 initial regular claims from individuals eligible for veterans benefits due to family relations with a veteran

Leave a Reply