Washington State Employment Security Department announcement.
For the 4-week moving average ending Jan. 1, 2022, compared to the previous 4-week moving average:
- Regular initial claims increased by 1,826 to a total of 7,490. As with the previous 4-week moving average, the increase is likely due to seasonal layoffs, primarily in the construction and agriculture industries.
- Regular continued claims increased by 3,713 to a total of 49,848.
The increase in initial claims is typical for the agriculture and construction industries during this week in pre-pandemic times. And total initial claim volumes are still below pre-pandemic levels, indicating ongoing improvements in the overall labor market.
The 4-week moving average is designed to show trends over time. The data cover regular initial regular and continued claims for the weeks ending Dec. 11, Dec. 18, Dec. 25. and Jan. 1. See the tables below.
Continued claims are the total of all weeks benefits were claimed. See a more detailed definition in the Data disclaimer and definitions section below.
From Dec. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021, ESD paid more than $105.2 million in regular benefit payments to over 55,082 Washingtonians.
Last monthly initial claims news release: Look for future monthly data on our website
Due to unprecedented levels of initial unemployment claims at the start of the pandemic, ESD began sending weekly initial claims press releases in March 2020. In October 2021, we transitioned to monthly press releases when the number of weekly initial claims returned to pre-pandemic levels. Now that weekly initial claims are below pre-pandemic levels, ESD will no longer send the monthly press release. You can continue to find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website.
For complete data showing weekly initial claims by industry sector and county for the year to date, also check the weekly unemployment initial claims charts. These charts are compiled by ESD’s Labor Market & Economic Analysis Division. For more information about specific counties, contact one of ESD’s regional local economists.
4-week summary of regular initial claims
Seasonal increases in layoffs in construction and farming, fishing and forestry occupations contributed to an increase of 1,826 regular initial claims over the previous 4-week average of regular initial claims in November 2021.
Industry sectors experiencing the highest number of regular initial claims during the 4-week period ending Jan. 1, 2022, were:
- Construction: 12,574.
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: 2,253.
- Manufacturing: 2,252.
- Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services: 2,052.
- Retail trade: 1,529.
Occupations experiencing the highest number of regular initial claims during the 4-week period ending Jan. 1, 2022, were:
- Construction and extraction occupations: 12,146.
- Transportation and material moving occupations: 3,311.
- Management occupations: 2,162.
- Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations: 1,647.
- Production occupations: 1,559.
King County, the most populous county in the state, had the largest amount of regular initial claims, 4,898, for the 4-week period ending Jan. 1, 2022.
Other counties with the largest number of initial claims:
- Pierce County: 4,047.
- Snohomish County: 3,059.
- Yakima County: 2,452.
- Spokane County: 2,142.
Table 1: 4-week moving averages
|Unemployment claim type||Week ending Jan. 1, 2022||Week ending Dec. 4, 2021||Week ending Jan. 2, 2021||Week ending Jan. 4,|
|Regular unemployment insurance initial claims||7,490||5,664||21,947||8,989|
|Continued or ongoing weekly claims for regular benefits||45,162||50,848||148,638||49,528|
|Total – regular initial and continued claims||50,623||56,120||165,841||57,410|