6/18/2020

Employment Security Department
20-030

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 18, 2020 

CONTACTS

Media inquiries: media@ESD.WA.GOV


Initial claims for unemployment benefits continue to
decrease from the previous week

OLYMPIA – During the week of June 7th through June 13th, there were 29,028 initial regular unemployment claims (down 2.3% from the prior week) and 695,532 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (a decrease of 34,061) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  ESD believes the continued decrease is due to a variety of reasons including fraud prevention measures and more people going back to work with the reopening of some industry sectors and regions over the past three weeks.

ESD paid out over $454.7 million for 399,879 individual claims.

Unemployment claim type

For week of

June 7-June 13

For week of

May 31-June 6

For week of

May 24-30

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims

29,028

29,173

31,224

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims

9,346

10,569

12,878

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims

7,650

9,195

10,176

Continued/ongoing weekly claims

649,508

680,116

720,681

Total claims

695,532

729,053

774,959


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

  • A total of 2,112,219 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic (1,320,239 regular unemployment insurance, 424,431 PUA and 367,549 PEUC)
  • A total of 1,180,748 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits
  • ESD has paid out over $5.4 billion in benefits
  • 856,428 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid

“The total number of claims remains historically high, but we are seeing a continued decline in initial claims week over week as the economy reopens,” said ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “As it has been from the outset, our priorities throughout this crisis have been to get benefits as quickly as possible to those who are eligible, and to increase the number of people who are eligible for benefits. We’ll continue to stay focused on these goals even as we navigate the reopening of the economy, and support Washingtonians as they get safely back to work.”

Below is a fifteen-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 7th- June 13th were:

  • Manufacturing: 3,671 regular initial claims, up 1,341 (+58 percent) from the previous week
  • Health care and social assistance: 3,583 initial regular claims, down 284 (-7 percent) from the previous week
  • Accommodation and food services: 3,240 initial regular claims, up 66 (+2 percent) from previous week
  • Retail trade: 2,411 initial regular claims, down 128 (-5 percent) from previous week
  • Construction: 2,155 initial regular claims, down 207 (-9 percent) from the previous week

By occupation

  • Management occupations:  3,398 regular initial claims, down 323 (-9 percent) from the previous week
  • Food preparation and serving: 3,207 regular initial claims, up 67 (+2 percent) from previous week
  • Office and administrative support:  2,857 regular initial claims, down 70 (-2 percent) from previous week
  • Construction and extraction occupations:  2,449 regular initial claims, down 155 (-6 percent) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations: 2,036 regular initial claims, down 248 (-11 percent) from the previous week
  • Production occupations:  2,033 regular initial claims, up 416 (+26 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous in the state saw initial regular claims increase from 8,725 to 8,753 during the week of June 7th- June 13th, up 0.3% percent from the week before.

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

  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 3,493 to 3,697 up 6 percent from the week before.
  • Pierce County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 3,703 to 3,582 down 3 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 1,765 to 1,617 down 8 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,425 to 1,215 down 15 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 7th- June 13th:

  • By gender: 51.1 percent (14,823) of the initial regular claims were filed by males while 48.5 percent (14,074) were filed by females
  • By age group: 26.3 percent (7,643) of initial regular claims were filed by the 25-34 years old age group, followed by 20.0 percent (5,796) by the 35-44 years old age group and 16.6 percent (4,831) by the 45-54 years old age group.
  • By education level: 29.9 percent (8,686) of initial regular claims were filed by individuals with a high school diploma, included GED, followed by 24.2 percent (7,036) with some college and 16.1% (4,681) with a bachelor’s degree.
  • By race/ethnicity: 60.0 percent (17,406) of initial regular claims were filed by Caucasians, followed by 8.4 percent (2,440) filed by Asians, 6.1 percent filed by Black/African Americans (1,762) and 6.1 percent filed by Latino/Hispanics (1,760).
  • By disability status: 2.8 percent (809) of initial regular claims were from individuals identified as having a disability, including 0.7 percent (216) who identified themselves as disabled veterans.
  • By veterans status: 5.1 percent (1,491) of initial regular claims were filed by veterans, including 121 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, June 25 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.

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 occupational 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 Veterans status

Initial regular claims by disability status

Initial regular claims by education level