Claims for Unemployment Increase Again

During the week of June 21 through June 27, there were 31,911 initial regular unemployment claims (up 7.8% from the prior week) and 696,272 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 3.1% from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications remain at unprecedented elevated levels and are at 473 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims as well as continued/ongoing claims all declined over the previous week.

In Mason County last week (June 21 to June 27), there were 185 new claims for unemployment; up from 164 week before (June 14 to June 20).

ESD paid out over $477.3 million for 394,910 individual claims – a decrease of $55.5 million and 15,942 less individual claims from the prior week.

Unemployment claim typeWeek of June 21-June 27Week of June 14-June 20Week of June 7-June 13
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims31,91129,61229,028
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims8,9977,8139,346
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims6,8847,0447,650
Continued/ongoing weekly claims648,480674,146649,508
Total claims696,272718,615695,532

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

  • A total of 2,143,073 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic (1,340,721 regular unemployment insurance, 431,002 PUA and 371,350 PEUC)
  • A total of 1,200,639 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits
  • ESD has paid out over $6.7 billion in benefits
  • 866,416 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid

“New unemployment claims, while down significantly from the peak of the crisis, remain at record-high levels,” said ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “This is the second week in a row we’ve seen a slight increase in initial claims, indicating furloughs or layoffs in some sectors like accommodation & food services and retail. ESD is committed to helping eligible Washingtonians get unemployment benefits as quickly as possible and supporting both workers and employers as they navigate the changing workforce landscape. One example of how ESD can help is with the SharedWork program. This is a great option for employers looking to avoid layoffs or slowly ramp up re-hiring during this crisis. And, because it’s fully funded by federal funding as a result of the CARES Act, using it does not impact a business’ experience rating. I encourage employers who are struggling to learn more at esd.wa.gov/SharedWork.”

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

17 summary claims table June 21-27
Statewide initial claims summary line chart June 21-27
Statewide total claims line chart June 21-27

Weekly data breakdown

By industry

Industry sectors experiencing the highest number of initial claims during June 21- June 27 were:

  • Accommodation and food services: 3,633 initial regular claims, up 221 (+7 percent) from previous week
  • Health care and social assistance: 3,545 initial regular claims, up 99 (+3 percent) from the previous week
  • Manufacturing: 3,303 regular initial claims, up 4 (0 percent) from the previous week
  • Retail trade: 2,757 initial regular claims, up 396 (+17 percent) from previous week
  • Construction: 2,632 initial regular claims, up 182 (+7 percent) from the previous week

By occupation

  • Management occupations:  3,903 regular initial claims, up 465 (+14 percent) from the previous week
  • Food preparation and serving: 3,452 regular initial claims, up 216 (+7 percent) from previous week
  • Office and administrative support:  3,091 regular initial claims, up 93 (+3 percent) from previous week
  • Construction and extraction occupations:  2,753 regular initial claims, up 21 (+1 percent) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations: 2,316 regular initial claims, up 211 (+10 percent) from the previous week
  • Production occupations:  2,205 regular initial claims, up 34 (+2 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous in the state saw initial regular claims increase from 8,752 to 9,179 during the week of June 21- June 27, up 5 percent from the week before.

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

  • Pierce County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 3,702 to 3,950 up 7 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 3,458 to 3,911 up 13 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,789 to 1,992 up 11 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,336 to 1,357 up 2 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 June 21- June 27:

  • By gender: 49.9 percent (15,932) of the initial regular claims were filed by males while 49.7 percent (15,873) were filed by females
  • By age group: 26.9 percent (8,573) of initial regular claims were filed by the 25-34 years old age group, followed by 21.2 percent (6,775) by the 35-44 years old age group and 17.6 percent (5,607) by the 45-54 years old age group.
  • By education level: 30.1 percent (9,619) of initial regular claims were filed by individuals with a high school diploma, included GED, followed by 24.1 percent (7,688) with some college and 16.1% (5,153) with a bachelor’s degree.
  • By race/ethnicity: 61.1 percent (19,496) of initial regular claims were filed by Caucasians, followed by 8.3 percent (2,641) filed by Asians, 5.9 percent filed by Latino/Hispanics (1,870) and 5.8 percent filed by Black/African Americans (1,838).
  • By disability status: 2.7 percent (849) of initial regular claims were from individuals identified as having a disability, including 0.8 percent (246) who identified themselves as disabled veterans.
  • By veteran’s status: 5.11 percent (1,615) of initial regular claims were filed by veterans, including 135 initial regular claims from individuals eligible for veterans benefits due to family relations with a veteran.