Initial Unemployment Increased, Continued Claims Decreased 9/13 to 9/19

During the week of September 13 through September 19, there were 19,574 initial regular unemployment claims (up 6.4 percent from the prior week) and 540,153 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 4.6 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 271 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Initial claims applications for regular Unemployment Insurance increased over the week while continued claims for regular Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims all decreased over the week.

ESD paid out over $154.5 million for 337,390 individual claims – a decrease of $2.8 million and 2,963 less individuals compared to the prior week.

Unemployment claim typeWeek of September 13-September 19Week of September 6-September 12Week of August 30-September 5
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims19,57418,40320,006
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims5,2847,2864,943
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims9,25611,4747,405
Continued/ongoing weekly claims506,039529,280499,071
Total claims540,153566,443531,425

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-nine week summary of statewide initial claims filed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis:

29 weeks claims table Sept. 13 - 19
Statewide initial claims line chart Sept. 13 - 19
Statewide total claims line chart Sept. 13 - 19

Weekly data breakdown

By industry

Industry sectors experiencing the highest number of initial claims during September 13- September 19 were:

  • Construction: 2,886 initial regular claims, up 1,106 (+63 percent) from the previous week
  • Accommodation and food services: 2,216 initial regular claims, up 324 (+17 percent) from previous week
  • Health care and social assistance: 1,642 initial regular claims, up 29 (+2 percent) from the previous week
  • Retail trade: 1,493 regular initial claims, down 40 (-3 percent) from the previous week
  • Educational services: 1,460 initial regular claims, down 291 (-17 percent) from previous week

By occupation

  • Construction and extraction occupations:  3,136 regular initial claims, up 1,126 (+56 percent) from the previous week
  • Food preparation and serving: 2,331 regular initial claims, up 305 (+15 percent) from previous week
  • Management occupations:  2,104 regular initial claims, up 124 (+6 percent) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations:  1,594 regular initial claims, down 27 (-2 percent) from previous week
  • Office and administrative support occupations:  1,560 regular initial claims, down 43 (-3 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous county in the state, saw initial regular claims decrease from 4,987 to 4,933 during the week of September 13 – September 19, down 1 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 2,291 to 2,426 up 6 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 2,056 to 1,986 down 3 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 891 to 1,168 up 31 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,036 to 1,134 up 9 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 September 13 – September 19Week of September 6 – September 12During height of the recession
Employers with an approved SharedWork plan3,665 employers covering 153,165 employees3,631 employers covering 151,908 employees2,500 employers covering approximately 46,000 employees
Individuals who filed weekly claims for the SharedWork program  51,357   53,534 46,000