During the week of May 10-16, there were 138,733 initial regular unemployment claims (an increase of 29,308 from the previous week) and 1,670,580 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (an increase of 369,016 from the previous week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). ESD believes some portion of the high numbers from the past week are due to an increase in fraudulent claims and is looking into how best to correct for that in future reporting cycles.
ESD paid out over $1.01 billion (an increase of almost $256 million from the previous week) for 565,764 individual claims (an increase of 28,450 from the previous week).
|Unemployment claim type||Week ofMay 10-16||Week ofMay 3-9||Week ofApril 26-May 2|
|Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims||138,733||109,425||100,762|
|Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims||61,325||55,911||59,234|
|Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims||59,630||47,626||40,267|
|Continued/ongoing weekly claims||1,410,892||1,088,602||885,768|
Since the week ending March 7 when COVID-19 job losses began:
- A total of 1,937,576 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic (1,222,861 regular unemployment insurance, 381,904 PUA and 332,811 PEUC)
- A total of 1,106,684 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits
- ESD has paid out nearly $3.8 billion in benefits to Washingtonians
- 768,217 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid
“Since the beginning of this crisis, the Employment Security Department has been laser focused on getting money into the hands of Washingtonians as quickly as possible through our unemployment system and expanding those who are eligible for those benefits,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “We have been very successful in that endeavor, distributing billions of dollars in state and federal funds to more than 3/4 of a million Washingtonians in desperate need of these benefits and being among the first states to implement the provisions of the federal CARES act extending benefits to those previously ineligible. We have also zeroed in on stopping the increase in fraudulent claims we’ve seen in recent weeks. We are working closely with federal law enforcement to stop fraudulent activity, to investigate these crimes and get as much of the stolen money as we can returned to us.”