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Employment Security Department


Media inquiries: media@ESD.WA.GOV

Initial regular claims for unemployment benefits increased slightly
from the previous week

OLYMPIA – During the week of June 14 through June 20, there were 29,612 initial regular unemployment claims (up 2.0% from the prior week) and 718,615 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 3.3% from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

Initial regular claims applications remain at unprecedented elevated levels and are at 450 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.  Both Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims continued to decline over the previous week.

ESD paid out over $532.9 million for 410,836 individual claims – an increase of $78.2 million for 10,957 more individual claims from the prior week.

Unemployment claim type

For week of

June 14-June 20

For week of

June 7-June 13

For week of

May 31-June 6

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




Since the week ending March 7 when COVID-19 job losses began:

  • A total of 2,154,353 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic (1,346,541 regular unemployment insurance, 433,009 PUA and 374,803 PEUC)
  • A total of 1,119,821 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits
  • ESD has paid out over $6.5 billion in benefits
  • 875,979 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid

“Although we did see a very slight increase in initial claims this week, we have held fairly steady the last three weeks at around 29,000 new unemployment claims,” said ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “While this is a significant drop from our peak earlier in the crisis, we have leveled off at what are still record high numbers – exceeding what we saw in the peak of the recession. ESD is committed to helping eligible Washingtonians get unemployment benefits as quickly as possible and helping both workers and employers navigate the changing workforce landscape.”

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

Weekly data breakdown

By industry

Industry sectors experiencing the highest number of initial claims during June 14- June 20 were:

  • Health care and social assistance: 3,446 initial regular claims, down 137 (-4 percent) from the previous week
  • Accommodation and food services: 3,401 initial regular claims, up 161 (+5 percent) from previous week
  • Manufacturing: 3,299 regular initial claims, down 372 (-10 percent) from the previous week
  • Construction: 2,450 initial regular claims, up 295 (14 percent) from the previous week
  • Retail trade: 2,361 initial regular claims, down 50 (-2 percent) from previous week

By occupation

  • Management occupations:  3,438 regular initial claims, up 40 (+1 percent) from the previous week
  • Food preparation and serving: 3,236 regular initial claims, up 29 (+1 percent) from previous week
  • Office and administrative support:  2,988 regular initial claims, up 141 (+5 percent) from previous week
  • Construction and extraction occupations:  2,732 regular initial claims, up 283 (+12 percent) from the previous week
  • Production occupations:  2,171 regular initial claims, up 138 (+7 percent) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations: 2,105 regular initial claims, up 69 (+3 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous in the state saw initial regular claims decrease from 8,753 to 8,752 during the week of June 14- June 20, down .01 percent from the week before.

Other counties with the largest number of initial claims during the week were:

  • Pierce County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 3,582 to 3,702 up 3 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 3,697 to 3,458 down 6 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,617 to 1,789 up 11 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,215 to 1,336 up 10 percent from the week before.

Demographic breakdown – complete charts are provided in Appendix A below (This information is asked during the application process).

During the week of June 14- June 20:

  • By gender: 50.3 percent (14,881) of the initial regular claims were filed by males while 49.3 percent (14,613) were filed by females
  • By age group: 27.3 percent (8,084) of initial regular claims were filed by the 25-34 years old age group, followed by 20.7 percent (6,117) by the 35-44 years old age group and 16.3 percent (4,821) by the 45-54 years old age group.
  • By education level: 30.5 percent (9,029) of initial regular claims were filed by individuals with a high school diploma, included GED, followed by 24.1 percent (7,149) with some college and 16.1% (4,753) with a bachelor’s degree.
  • By race/ethnicity: 60.2 percent (17,837) of initial regular claims were filed by Caucasians, followed by 8.1 percent (2,394) filed by Asians, 6.3 percent filed by Latino/Hispanics (1,860) and 6.0 percent filed by Black/African Americans (1,769).
  • By disability status: 2.8 percent (822) of initial regular claims were from individuals identified as having a disability, including 0.8 percent (230) who identified themselves as disabled veterans.
  • By veteran’s status: 5.2 percent (1,542) of initial regular claims were filed by veterans, including 120 initial regular claims from individuals eligible for veterans benefits due to family relations with a veteran.

Please see new charts in the Appendix A below.  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.

NOTE: ESD will send out the next weekly new claims press release on Thursday, July 2 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 in 2020.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is an emergency program established by the federal CARES Act that extends unemployment insurance for an extra 13 weeks to those who have exhausted their regular unemployment 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 July 31, 2020. They do not need to file a separate claim to receive this money, it is automatically added to their payment. [NOTE OF CLARIFICATION ADDED ON JULY 13: FPUC is not payable for any week of unemployment ending after July 31, 2020. Since a “week of unemployment” in Washington state ends on any Saturday, the last day to receive FPUC must be on a Saturday prior to the end date in the CARES Act. Accordingly, the last week that FPUC may be paid is the week ending July 25, 2020.]

COVID-19 resources

Washington state Employment Security Department unemployment insurance information for workers and employers

State of Washington’s coronavirus website

Washington state Department of Health public health resources

Labor market web links

Appendix A

Initial regular claims by industry sector

Initial regular claims by major occupation group

Initial regular claims by county

Initial regular claims by gender

Initial regular claims by age group

Initial regular claims by race/ethnicity

Initial regular claims by Veteran's status

Initial regular claims by disability status

Initial regular claims by education level