$12 Billion in Unemployment Paid Out during Crisis, New Claims Remain Steady

During the week of October 25 – 31, there were 14,681 initial regular unemployment claims (up 3.4 percent from the prior week) and 465,563 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 2.1 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $12.1 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

  • Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 113 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims and continued claims for regular benefits all decreased over the week.
  • Slight increases in initial claims were primarily in industries where seasonal layoffs are expected this time of year, including agriculture and construction.

In the week ending October 31, ESD paid out over $143 million for 307,351 individual claims. 

Unemployment claim typeWeek of October 25-October 31Week of October 18-October 24Week of October 11-October 17
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims14,68114,19816,890
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims3,0513,6033,679
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims6,7026,9948,091
Continued/ongoing weekly claims441,129450,646462,581
Total claims465,563475,441491,241

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

Note: Detailed claims data and charts by county, industry and occupation will be included in this release on the first Thursday of every month. You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website

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

Week 35 Claims table October 25 - 31
Statewide initial claims line chart October 25 - 31
Statewide total claims line chart October 25 - 31

Weekly data breakdown

By industry

Industry sectors experiencing the highest number of initial claims during October 25- October 31 were:

  • Construction: 1,931 initial regular claims, up 175 (10 percent) from the previous week
  • Accommodation and food services: 1,546 initial regular claims, up 14 (1 percent) from previous week
  • Health care and social assistance: 1,174 initial regular claims, down 33 (-3 percent) from the previous week
  • Manufacturing: 1,072 initial regular claims, up 83 (8 percent) from previous week
  • Retail trade: 1,054 regular initial claims, down 81 (-7 percent) from the previous week 

By occupation

  • Construction and extraction occupations:  2,115 regular initial claims, up 104 (5 percent) from the previous week
  • Management occupations:  1,620 regular initial claims, down 21 (-1 percent) from the previous week
  • Food preparation and serving: 1,571 regular initial claims, up 8 (1 percent) from previous week
  • Office and administrative support occupations:  1,176 regular initial claims, up 2 (.2 percent) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations:  1,143 regular initial claims, up 79 (7 percent) from previous week

By county

King County, the most populous county in the state, saw initial regular claims decrease from 3,552 to 3,382 during the week of October 25- October 31, down 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 decreased from 1,755 to 1,722 down 2 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 1,558 to 1,506 down 3 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 908 to 1,025 up 13 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 656 to 625 down 5 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 October 25 – 31Week of October 18 – 24During height of the recession
Employers with an approved SharedWork plan3,620 employers covering 103,924 employees3,716 employers covering 154,606 employees2,500 employers covering approximately 46,000 employees
Individuals who filed weekly claims for the SharedWork program  37,889    44,613   46,000

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