All Unemployment Claims Declined

During the week of August 16 through August 22, there were 18,389 initial regular unemployment claims (down 16.2 percent from the prior week) and 568,881 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 4.8 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 288 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Regular Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims as well as continuing claims all decreased over the previous week.

ESD paid out over $182.8 million for 357,077 individual claims – a decrease of $15.4 million and 5,760 fewer individuals compared to the prior week.

Since the week ending March 7, when the COVID-19 job losses began, ESD has paid out more than $9.89 billion in benefits. It was previously stated that ESD has paid out more than $10.1 billion in benefits, but that is the total since the start of 2020.

Unemployment claim typeWeek of August 16-August 22Week of August 9-August 15Week of August 2-August 8
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims18,38921,94222,140
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims4,2564,7264,540
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims6,0116,2946,301
Continued/ongoing weekly claims540,225564,512*579,503
Total claims568,881597,474612,484
*Figure was revised upward from the previously reported figure of 556,669

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

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

25 week claims table August 16-22
Statewide initial claims line chart August 16-22
Statewide total claims line chart August 16-22

Weekly data breakdown

By industry

Industry sectors experiencing the highest number of initial claims during August 16- August 22 were:

  • Accommodation and food services: 2,161 initial regular claims, down 338 (-14 percent) from previous week
  • Construction: 1,787 initial regular claims, down 97 (-5 percent) from the previous week
  • Health care and social assistance: 1,686 initial regular claims, down 345 (-17 percent) from the previous week
  • Retail trade: 1,530 initial regular claims, down 240 (-14 percent) from previous week
  • Manufacturing: 1,461 regular initial claims, down 803 (-35 percent) from the previous week

By occupation

  • Food preparation and serving: 2,223 regular initial claims, down 280 (-11 percent) from previous week
  • Management occupations:  2,035 regular initial claims, down 213 (-9 percent) from the previous week
  • Construction and extraction occupations:  1,975 regular initial claims, down 165 (-8 percent) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations:  1,490 regular initial claims, down 236 (-14 percent) from previous week
  • Sales as related occupations:  1,208 regular initial claims, down 235 (-16 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous county in the state, saw initial regular claims decrease from 5,860 to 4,773 during the week of August 16 – August 22, down 19 percent from the week before.

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

  • Pierce County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 2,776 to 2,388 down 14 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 2,617 to 2,083 down 20 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 1,243 to 1,057 down 15 percent from the week before.
  • Thurston County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 716 to 675 down 6 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 16 – August 22Week of August 9 – August 15During height of the recession
Employers with an approved SharedWork plan3,555 employers covering 155,562 employees3,526 employers covering 155,022 employees2,500 employers covering approximately 46,000 employees
Individuals who filed weekly claims for the SharedWork program  55,435   57,307 46,000