Initial & Continued Unemployment Claims Increased 11/15 to 11/21

During the week of November 15 – 21, there were 30,274 initial regular unemployment claims (up 79.8 percent from the prior week) and 464,884 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 7.1 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 263 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation initial claims increased over the week.
  • Continued/ongoing claims for regular benefits increased 3.5 percent over the week.
  • The increase in initial claims over the week was seen across the nation. Initial claims figures include both new and restarted claims by previous customers.
  • In Washington:
    • Increases occurred predominately in the Accommodation and Food Services sector (+6,937 initial claims).
    • Increases also occurred in the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector (+986 initial claims) and Retail trade sector (+779 initial claims).
    • The largest increase by occupation occurred in food preparation and serving (+7,954 over the week). This is likely attributed to the COVID-19 public health restrictions recently put in place.     

In the week ending November 21, ESD paid out over $135.5 million for 282,837 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $12.5 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim typeWeek of November 15-November 21Week of November 8-November 14Week of November 1-November 7
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims30,27416,83725,201
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims4,3962,6932,768
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims8,3876,8367,840
Continued/ongoing weekly claims421,827407,748393,254
Total claims464,884434,114429,063

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 a monthly basis. You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website.

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

38 week claims table Nov 15 - 21
Statewide initial claims Nov 15 - 21
Statewide total claims line chart Nov 15 - 21