2/18/2021

Employment Security Department
#21-009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Feb. 18, 2021
Email media inquiries:  media@esd.wa.gov  

All initial and continued unemployment claims decreased during the week of
February 7 - 13

OLYMPIA – During the week of February 7 -  13, there were 13,607 initial regular unemployment claims (down 13.0 percent from the prior week) and 447,412 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 7.3 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 119 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Initial regular claims applications, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims and continued claims for regular benefits all decreased over the week.
  • Reductions in layoffs in the retail trade, accommodation & food services as well as the health care and social assistance sectors led the overall decrease in regular initial claims last week. Regular initial claims in the retail trade sector decreased by 240 claims over the week to 1,303 total regular initial claims.

In the week ending February 13, ESD paid out over $246 million for 312,121 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $14.8 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

Week of

February 7- February 13

Week of

January 31- February 6

Week of

January 24- January 30

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims

13,607

15,644

16,102

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims

2,638

3,150

3,623

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims

3,547

3,990

6,591

Continued/ongoing weekly claims

427,620

459,658

463,425

Total claims

447,412

482,442

489,741

Note: Detailed claims data and charts by county, industry and occupation will be included in this release on a monthly basis. You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website.

Below is a fifty 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, February 25, 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 CARES Act that temporarily expands unemployment insurance  eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is an emergency program established by the CARES Act that extends unemployment insurance for an extra 13 weeks to those who have exhausted their benefits.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is an emergency program established by the CARES Act to increase unemployment benefits for Americans who are out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under FPUC, eligible people who collect certain unemployment insurance benefits—including regular unemployment compensation—will get an extra $600 in federal benefits each week through the week ending July 25, 2020. 

Web links

COVID-19 resources

Labor market web links

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