Over 1 Million Claims, Almost $10 Billion in Benefits Since Pandemic Started

During the week of August 9 through August 15, there were 21,942 initial regular unemployment claims (down 0.9 percent from the prior week) and 589,631 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 3.7 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 338 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Regular Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims as well as continuing claims all decreased over the previous week while Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims increased by 4.0 percent.

ESD paid out over $198.6 million for 362,815 individual claims – a decrease of $74.4 million and 28,211 fewer individuals compared to the prior week.

Unemployment claim typeWeek of August 9-August 15Week of August 2-August 8Week of July 26-August 1
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims21,94222,14024,985
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims4,7264,5404,613
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims6,2946,3016,695
Continued/ongoing weekly claims556,669579,503*620,263
Total claims589,631612,484656,556

*Figure was revised upward from the previously reported figure of 538,429

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

  • A total of 2,405,641 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic (1,519,550 regular unemployment insurance, 471,260 PUA and 414,831 PEUC)
  • A total of 1,302,868 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits
  • ESD has paid out over $9.7 billion in benefits
  • 1,005,211 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid – nearing a third of the state’s workforce

For more information on current claimants and claims processing progress, please go to the new benefits data dashboard on the ESD website.

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

24 week claims table July 9-15
24 week Statewide initial claims line chart July 9-15
Statewide total claims line chart July 9-15

Weekly data breakdown

By industry

Industry experiencing the highest number of initial claims during August 9- August 15 were:

  • Accommodation and food services: 2,499 initial regular claims, up 264 (12 percent) from previous week
  • Manufacturing: 2,264 regular initial claims, down 602 (-21 percent) from the previous week
  • Health care and social assistance: 2,031 initial regular claims, up 109 (6 percent) from the previous week
  • Construction: 1,884 initial regular claims, up 133 (8 percent) from the previous week
  • Retail trade: 1,770 initial regular claims, up 11 (1 percent) from previous week

By occupation

  • Food preparation and serving: 2,503 regular initial claims, up 201 (9 percent) from previous week
  • Management occupations:  2,246 regular initial claims, down 61 (-3 percent) from the previous week
  • Construction and extraction occupations:  2,140 regular initial claims, up 144 (7 percent) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations:  1,726 regular initial claims, up 64 (4 percent) from previous week
  • Production occupations:  1,611 regular initial claims, down 119 (-7 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous county in the state, saw initial regular claims decrease from 6,002 to 5,860 during the week of August 9 – August 15, down 2 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 2,771 to 2,776 up 0.2 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 3,040 to 2,617 down 14 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 1,283 to 1,243 down 3 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 924 to 1,086 up 18 percent from the week before.

SharedWork

For employers looking to avoid layoffs or slowly ramp up re-hiring during this crisis, SharedWork is a great program that can help. You can learn more at esd.wa.gov/SharedWork

 Week of August 9 – August 15Week of August 2 – August 8During height of the recession
Employers with an approved SharedWork plan3,526 employers covering 155,022 employees3,492 employers covering 154,030 employees2,500 employers covering approximately 46,000 employees
Individuals who filed weekly claims for the SharedWork program  57,307   55,905 46,000