During the the week of May 9 – May 15, there were 19,619 initial regular unemployment claims (up 18.2 percent from the prior week) and 469,098 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 7.6 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).
- Initial regular claims applications are now 86 percent below weekly new claims applications during the same period last year during the pandemic.
- The 4-week moving average for initial claims remain elevated at 14,590 (as compared to the 4-week moving average of initial claims pre-pandemic of 6,071 initial claims) and remains at similar levels of initial claims filed during the Great Recession.
- Initial and continued claims for regular benefits increased over the week while initial claim applications for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) decreased over the week.
- Increases in layoffs in Health Care and Social Assistance, Educational Services, and Retail Trade contributed to the increase in regular initial claims last week.
- We have also seen a recent increase in fraudulent claim applications, which is contributing to the increase in initial claims. Our controls to identify these fraudulent claims are working. These claims will show up in the weekly claims numbers even though they are not paid.
- The decrease in initial claims for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program this week is associated with a program change in the existing PEUC application that occurred during the prior week.
In the week ending May 15, ESD paid out over $284 million for 318,367 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March 2020, ESD has paid more than $18.1 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.
|Unemployment claim type||Week of May 9-15||Week of May 2-8||Week of April 25- May 1|
|Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims||19,619||16,605||10,507|
|Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims||2,290||2,485||1,855|
|Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims||3,337||7,603||2,262|
|Continued/ongoing weekly claims||443,852||409,421||389,633|