Initial & Continued Unemployment Claims Increased 12/20 to 12/26

During the week of December 20-26, there were 19,192 initial regular unemployment claims (up 9.1 percent from the prior week) and 497,370 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 8.4 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 92 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Initial claims for regular unemployment, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and continued/ongoing claims for regular benefits all increased over the week.
  • Seasonal layoffs in construction and agriculture drove an increase in new jobless claims last week. Regular initial claims in the construction sector increased by 692 over the week to 3,329 total regular initial claims, while initial claims in the Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector increased by 286 over the week to 990 initial claims.

In the week ending December 26, ESD paid out over $139.0 million for 286,178 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $13.2 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim typeWeek of December 20-December 26Week of December 13-December 19Week of December 6-December 12
Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims19,19217,59619,547
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims3,9183,7114,061
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims14,12713,43512,775
Continued/ongoing weekly claims460,133424,170454,878
Total claims497,370458,912491,261

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

43 week claims table December 20 - 26
Statewide initial claims line chart December 20 - 26
Statewide total claims line chart December 20 - 26