10/22/2020

Employment Security Department
20-059

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Oct. 22, 2020

CONTACTS

Media inquiries: media@ESD.WA.GOV


Initial regular unemployment decreased during the week while continued claims increased during week of October 11 - 17. 

OLYMPIA – During the week of October 11 - 17, there were 16,890 initial regular unemployment claims (down 24.3 percent from the prior week) and 491,241 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 3.0 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 172 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Initial regular initial claims, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims all decreased while continued claims increased over the week.

In the week ending October 17, ESD paid out over $149 million for 310,901 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $11.8 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

Week of

October 11-October 17

Week of

October 4-October 10

Week of

September 27-October 3

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims

16,890

22,324

15,496

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims

3,679

3,900

4,151

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims

8,091

8,736

9,211

Continued/ongoing weekly claims

462,581

441,865

477,850

Total claims

491,241

476,735

506,708

 

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 https://esd.wa.gov/labormarketinfo/unemployment-insurance-data.

Below is a thirty-three-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 October 11- October 17 were:

  • Construction: 1,926 initial regular claims, up 250 (+15 percent) from the previous week
  • Accommodation and food services: 1,718 initial regular claims, down 516 (-23 percent) from previous week
  • Manufacturing: 1,349 initial regular claims, down 338 (-20 percent) from previous week
  • Health care and social assistance: 1,331 initial regular claims, down 201 (-13 percent) from the previous week
  • Retail trade: 1,224 regular initial claims, down 425 (-26 percent) from the previous week

By occupation

  • Construction and extraction occupations:  2,182 regular initial claims, up 77 (+4 percent) from the previous week
  • Management occupations:  1,894 regular initial claims, down 620 (-25 percent) from the previous week
  • Food preparation and serving: 1,732 regular initial claims, down 631 (-27 percent) from previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations:  1,415 regular initial claims, down 494 (-26 percent) from previous week
  • Office and administrative support occupations:  1,347 regular initial claims, down 433 (-24 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous county in the state, saw initial regular claims decrease from 5,982 to 4,367 during the week of October 11- October 17, down 27 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 2,704 to 2,200 down 19 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 2,528 to 1,725 down 32 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 1,375 to 962 down 30 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 1,106 to 805 down 27 percent from the week before.

SharedWork

For employers looking to avoid layoffs or slowly ramp up re-hiring during this crisis, SharedWork is a great program that can help. You can learn more at esd.wa.gov/SharedWork

 

 

Week of October 11 –

October 17

Week of October 4 – October 10

During height of the recession

Employers with an approved SharedWork plan

3,700 employers covering 154,000 employees

3,692 employers covering 153,763 employees

2,500 employers covering approximately 46,000 employees

Individuals who filed weekly claims for the SharedWork program

 

47,556

 

 

48,017

 

 46,000

 

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.

ESD will send out the next weekly new claims press release on Thursday, October 29, 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 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.

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 County

Initial regular claims by occupation