New unemployment claims drop while continued claims rise in WA


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington saw a slight decrease in new unemployment claims filed from the previous week but an increase in continued claims, according to the Employment Security Department.

From October 11 through 17, the ESD received 16,890 initial regular unemployment claims, which is a 24.3% drop from the prior week. The ESD saw 491,241 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories, up 3% from the previous week.

According to the ESD, all Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claims also decreased over the week while the continued claims increased.

Overall, initial claims are still 172% above those seen this time last year.

ESD paid out over $149 million for 310,901 individual claims from Oct. 11-17. The department has distributed over $11.8 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians since March — when the COVID crisis began to hit business hard.

The industry with the highest number of claims seen during the week was construction, with 1,926 initial regular claims. That number is up 15% from the previous week. The sector that saw the next highest number of new claims was accommodation and food services with 1,718 initial regular claims, down 23% from the previous week.

A decrease was seen on the national level as well. The number of Americans filing for unemployment slightly dropped last week to 787,000, while the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is still felt across industries.

The latest figures released by the Labor Department Thursday show that the number of people filing for jobless benefits declined by 55,000 from the previous week.

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