Lo sentimos. Aún no hemos traducido esta página al español. Avísenos si desea que esto sea una prioridad y traduciremos la página lo antes posible.

We're sorry. We have not yet translated this page into Spanish. Please let us know if you want us to make it a priority and we will work to translate it as soon as possible.

Solicitar traducción Request translation

Gracias, su solicitud ha sido presentada. Thank you, your request has been submitted.


Employment Security Department



Media inquiries: media@ESD.WA.GOV

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

OLYMPIA – During the week of May 31 through June 6, there were 29,713 initial regular unemployment claims (down 4.8% from the prior week) and 729,053 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (a decrease of 45,906) 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 $545.3 million for 420,772 individual claims.


Unemployment claim type

For week of

May 31-June 6

For week of

May 24-30

For week of

May 17-23

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 2,082,098 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic (1,301,944 regular unemployment insurance, 417,757 PUA and 362,397 PEUC)
  • A total of 1,168,129 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits
  • ESD has paid out over $5.4 billion in benefits
  • 844,077 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid

“We continue to see a decline in initial claims, which is expected as the economy starts to reopen,” said ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine. ”Our priorities from day one of this crisis have been to get benefits out to Washingtonians who need them quickly and expand eligibility so those impacted can get the help they need, and we are continuing to ramp up our staffing to work through the large numbers of applicants and adjudications. We know every day matters for people awaiting their benefits. We are committed to processing those claims as quickly as possible.”

Below is a fourteen-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 May 31st- June 6th were:

  • Health care and social assistance: 3,867 initial regular claims, up 253 (+3 percent) from the previous week
  • Accommodation and food services: 3,174 initial regular claims, up 109 (+4 percent) from previous week
  • Retail trade: 2,539 initial regular claims, down 287 (-7 percent) from previous week
  • Construction: 2,362 initial regular claims, down 75 (-3 percent) from the previous week
  • Manufacturing: 2,330 regular initial claims, up 42 (+2 percent) from the previous week

By occupation

  • Management occupations:  3,721 regular initial claims, down 662 (-15 percent) from the previous week
  • Food preparation and serving: 3,140 regular initial claims, down 29 (-1 percent) from previous week
  • Office and administrative support:  2,927 regular initial claims, up 123 (+4 percent) from previous week
  • Construction and extraction occupations:  2,604 regular initial claims, down 179 (-6 percent) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations: 2,284 regular initial claims, down 59 (-3 percent) from the previous week
  • Sales and related occupations:  2,190 regular initial claims, down 95 (-4 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous in the state saw initial regular claims decrease from 8,974 to 8,725 during the week of May 31st- June 6th, down 3 percent from the week before. 

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

  • Pierce County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 4,069 to 3,703 down 9 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 3,580 to 3,493 down 2 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 1,973 to 1,765 down 2 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,385 to 1,425 up 3 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 May 31st- June 6th:

  • By gender: 50.2 percent (14,918) of the initial regular claims were filed by males while 49.4 percent (14,680) were filed by females
  • By age group: 26.1 percent (7,768) of initial regular claims were filed by the 25-34 years old age group, followed by 21.1 percent (6,270) by the 35-44 years old age group and 16.9 percent (5,024) by the 45-54 years old age group.
  • By race/ethnicity: 60.9 percent (18,106) of initial regular claims were filed by Caucasians, followed by 7.8 percent (2,305) filed by Asians, 6.3 percent filed by Latino/Hispanics (1,875) and 6.0 percent filed by Black/African Americans (1,786).
  • By disability status: 2.7 percent (799) of initial regular claims were from individuals identified as having a disability, including 0.8 percent (237) who identified themselves as disabled veterans.
  • By veterans status: 5.1 percent (1,513) of initial regular claims were filed by veterans, including 110 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 18 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 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 Veteran status

Initial regular claims by disability status