9/2/2021

Employment Security Department
#21-054

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Sept. 2, 2021
Email media inquiries:  media@esd.wa.gov

Initial regular claims and total claims for all benefits decreased during the week of August 22

OLYMPIA – During the week of August 22 to 28, there were 5,073 initial regular unemployment claims, down 5.3 percent from the prior week. Total claims filed by Washingtonians for all unemployment benefit categories numbered 272,845, down 1.0 percent from the prior week.  

  • Initial regular claims applications are 72 percent below weekly new claims applications for the same period last year during the pandemic.
  • The 4-week moving average for regular initial claims was 5,345, an increase of 39 from the previous week’s 4-week moving average. During the same time in 2019, it was 5,024.
  • Decreases in layoffs in health care and social assistance, wholesale trade and retail trade contributed to a decrease of 284 regular initial claims over the previous week.
  • There was a decrease in the combined total of initial claims and continued or ongoing claims for all benefits—which include regular unemployment insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
  • Federal pandemic benefits programs, including PUA and PEUC as well as the additional $300 per week, are set to expire the week ending Sept. 4, 2021. Learn more at esd.wa.gov/covid-19.

In the week ending August 28, ESD paid out over $161 million for 198,030 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March 2020, ESD has paid more than $21 billion in benefits to over 1.1 million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

August 22-28

August 15-21

August 8-14

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims

5,073

5,357

5,528

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims

1,503

1,369

1,509

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims

617

534

427

Continued or ongoing weekly claims

265,652

268,118

277,986

Total claims

272,845

275,558

285,450

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

Below is a seventy-eight 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, Sept. 9, 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.

Web links

COVID-19 resources

Labor market web links

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