4/1/2021

Employment Security Department
#21-019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 1, 2021
Email media inquiries:  media@esd.wa.gov
  

Initial claims increased slightly while continued claims for regular benefits decreased during the week of March 21 – March 27

OLYMPIA – During the week of March 21 – March 27, there were 11,445 initial regular unemployment claims (up 0.5 percent from the prior week) and 430,077 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 1.3 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications are now 94 percent below weekly new claims applications during the same period last year at the start of the pandemic.
  • Initial claims remain elevated (as compared to the 4-week moving average of initial claims pre-pandemic of 6,071 initial claims) and remain at similar levels of initial claims filed during the Great Recession.
  • Slight increases in layoffs in Construction and the Educational Services sector led to a marginal increase in regular initial claims last week.
  • Initial claims applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUC) decreased over the week.

In the week ending March 27, ESD paid out over $274.6 million for 310,221 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March 2020, ESD has paid more than $16.3 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

Week of

March 21- March 27

Week of

March 14- March 20

Week of

March 7- March 13

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims

11,445

11,398

11,699

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims

2,384

3,383

3,041

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims

3,173

3,873

4,230

Continued/ongoing weekly claims

413,065

417,021

430,868

Total claims

430,077

435,675

449,838

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

Below is a fifty-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, April 8, 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

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