7/22/2021

Employment Security Department
#21-043

OLYMPIA – During the week of July 11 – July 17, there were 5,061 initial regular unemployment claims (down 7.8 percent from the prior week) and 315,848 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 7.2 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications are now 83 percent below weekly new claims applications during the same period last year during the pandemic.
  • The 4-week moving average for initial claims is at 5,995 (as compared to the 4-week moving average of initial claims pre-pandemic of 6,071 initial claims). That level represents the lowest levels of initial claims for regular benefits since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, and the sixth consecutive week initial claims have reached a new pandemic low.
  • Initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which increased by 241 applications over the week, occurred in three occupations: Production, Office and Administration as well as Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance
  • Initial claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which increased by 78 applications over the week, occurred in three service categories: Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation as well as Professional, Scientific and Technical services.
  • Continued/ongoing claims for all benefits decreased over the week
  • Decreases in layoffs in Educational Services and Retail Trade contributed to the decrease in regular initial claims last week.

In the week ending July 17, ESD paid out over $190 million for 235,804 individual claims. 

“Since March 2020, ESD has paid more than $20 billion in benefits to over 1.1 million Washingtonians,” said ESD Commissioner Cami Feek. “This is a significant milestone and represents critical dollars that have helped individuals and families buy food, pay bills and pay their rent or mortgage during the crisis of the last sixteen months.”

Unemployment claim type

Week of

July 11- July 17

Week of

July 4- July 10

Week of

June 27- July 3

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims

5,061

5,488

5,924

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims

1,604

1,363

1,905

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims

543

465

451

Continued/ongoing weekly claims

308,640

332,888

334,966

Total claims

315,848

340,204

343,246

 

Note: You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website

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

Chart of the seventy-two week summary of statewide initial claims filed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis

Statewide initial regular claims graph

Statewide total claims graph

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, July 29, 2021 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.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is an emergency program established by the federal CARES Act that extends unemployment insurance for those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.

Web links

COVID-19 resources

Labor market web links