Employment Security Department

Email media inquiries:  media@esd.wa.gov

Initial and continued claims for regular benefits decreased during the week of April 11 – April 17

OLYMPIA – During the week of April 11 – April 17, there were 13,216 initial regular unemployment claims (down 23.5 percent from the prior week) and 414,414 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 3.3 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

  • Initial regular claims applications are now 84 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 13,454 (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.
  • Decreases in layoffs in Health Care and Social Assistance, Construction, Retail Trade and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting contributed to the decrease in regular initial claims last week.
  • There were fewer individuals who filed for new claims because their benefit year had ended, also contributing to the decrease in regular initial claims.
  • Initial claims applications for regular benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) as well as continued claims for regular benefits all decreased over the week.

In the week ending April 17, ESD paid out over $233 million for 299,100 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March 2020, ESD has paid more than $17.0 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

Week of

April 11- April 17

Week of

April 4- April 10

Week of

March 28- April 3

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims




Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims




Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims




Continued/ongoing weekly claims




Total claims




 Note: You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website.

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

For complete information of weekly initial claims by industry sector and county for the year to date, also check the weekly unemployment initial claims charts compiled by ESD’s Labor Market & Economic Analysis division. For more information about specific counties, contact one of ESD’s regional local economists.

ESD will send out the next weekly new claims press release on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

Data disclaimer and definitions

Per U.S. Department of Labor regulations, weekly unemployment claims data is embargoed and not available for release until the Thursday following the claim week. 

Initial claims include individuals who filed first-time claims as well as additional claims filed by individuals as a result of a new unemployment event. Initial claims include claims that are still being reviewed for eligibility. Counts for initial claims are not indicative of the number of claims that will result in monetary compensation.

Continuing claims equal continued weeks claimed including a total of all weeks for which benefits were claimed, even though such benefits were not paid or payment status is uncertain or unknown, e.g., waiting weeks, partial weeks, weeks for which penalties are being served and weeks for which a monetary or nonmonetary issue is pending. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is an emergency program established by the federal CARES Act that temporarily expands unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is an emergency program established by the federal CARES Act that extends unemployment insurance for those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.

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