Employment Security Department

Email media inquiries:  media@esd.wa.gov  

Initial regular unemployment increased while continued claims decreased during week of November 1 - 7. 

OLYMPIA – During the the week of November 1–7, Washingtonians filed 25,201 initial regular unemployment claims. This is an increase of 71.7 percent compared to last week. Total claims for all unemployment benefit categories during the week numbered 429,063, down 2.1 percent from last week. Employment Security Department collects and publishes this data.   

  • Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are 223 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
    • This is the largest weekly increase in initial regular claims since the week of Mar. 21.
    • Initial regular claims last hovered around 25,000 initial claims during the week ending Aug. 1.   
    • Initial regular claims typically increase this time of year due to seasonal layoffs, primarily in the agriculture and construction industries.
  • The following types of claims decreased over the week:
    • Initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).  
    • Continued claims for regular benefits.
  • Initial claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation increased over the week.

In the week ending November 7, ESD paid out over $146.5 million for 291,628 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $12.2 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

Week of

November 1-November 7

Week of

October 25-October 31

Week of

October 18-October 24

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





For more information on current claimants and claims processing progress, please go to the benefits data dashboard on the ESD website.

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 thirty-six-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, November 19, 2020 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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