Improving economy, declining jobless claims contribute to lowest 4-week moving average for regular continued claims since start of the pandemic
Media inquiries: media@ESD.WA.GOV
OLYMPIA – The 4-week moving average ending Oct. 30, 2021, compared to the 4-week moving average for the week ending Oct. 2, shows that regular continued claims decreased by 13,163 to a total of 50,848. This total is the lowest 4-week moving average for regular continued claims since the start of the pandemic.
The decrease is likely due to the improving economy and declining jobless claims as COVID-19 cases decrease.
The same 4-week moving average for regular initial claims shows an increase of 412 to a total of 5,272.
The 4-week moving average is designed to show trends over time. The data cover regular initial and regular continued claims for the weeks ending: Oct. 9, Oct. 16, Oct. 23 and Oct. 30. See the tables below.
Continued claims are the total of all weeks benefits were claimed. See a more detailed definition in the Data disclaimer and definitions section below.
From Oct. 1 to 31, 2021, the Employment Security Department (ESD) paid more than $80.7 million in regular benefits to over 48,964 Washingtonians.
4-week summary of regular initial claims by industry
Increases in layoffs in construction and public administration contributed to an increase of 412 regular initial claims over the previous 4-week average in September 2021.
Industry sectors experiencing the highest number of regular initial claims during the 4-week period ending Oct. 30, 2021:
- Construction: 6,195.
- Health care and social assistance: 2,088.
- Manufacturing: 1,501.
- Administrative and support and waste management and remediation services: 1,441.
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting: 1,277.
Increases in layoffs in construction and extraction occupations, and farming, fishing and forestry occupations contributed to an increase of 412 regular initial claims over the previous 4-week average in September 2021.
Occupations with the highest number of regular initial claims during the 4-week period ending Oct. 30, 2021:
- Construction and extraction occupations: 6,218.
- Management occupations: 1,986.
- Office and administrative support occupations: 1,654.
- Transportation and material moving occupations: 1,399.
- Production occupations: 1,130.
King County had the largest number of regular initial claims, totaling 4,417 for the 4-week period ending Oct. 30, 2021. King County is the most populous county in the state.
Other counties with the largest number of initial claims during the 4-week period ending Oct. 30 include:
- Pierce County: 2,781.
- Snohomish County: 2,166.
- Yakima County: 1,362.
- Spokane County: 1,229.
For complete information data showing weekly initial claims by industry sector and county for the year to date, also check the weekly unemployment initial claims charts. These charts are 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 monthly initial claims news release at 10 a.m. PST on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.
Table 1: 4-week moving averages
|Unemployment claim type||Week ending Oct. 30, 2021||Week ending Oct. 2, 2021||Week ending Oct. 31, 2020||Week ending Oct. 26, 2019|
|Regular unemployment insurance initial claims||5,272||4,860||17,023||6,438|
|Continued or ongoing weekly claims for regular benefits||50,848||64,011||162,019||42,598|
|Total - regular initial and continued claims||56,120||68,871||179,042||49,036|
Table 2: 4-week average of statewide regular initial claims filed since March 7, 2020
Data disclaimer and definitions
Per U.S. Department of Labor regulations, weekly unemployment claims data are not available until the Thursday following the claim week.
Initial claims include:
- First-time claims.
- Additional claims filed as a result of a new unemployment event.
- Those still being reviewed for eligibility.
Counts for initial claims do not indicate eligibility or that ESD will pay benefits.
Continued claims are the total of all weeks benefits were claimed. The total does not necessarily mean that benefits were paid. Payment status might be uncertain or unknown for many reasons. For example, reasons might include status of waiting weeks, partial weeks, weeks with penalties issued, and weeks with monetary or nonmonetary issues pending.
4-week moving average is the average across the preceding 4-week period. Moving averages are used to smooth fluctuations in time.
Labor market web links
- Labor market information website
- Historical data (Excel spreadsheet)
- Historical claims data (Excel spreadsheets)
For the 4-week moving average ending Oct. 30, 2021 — Total of regular initial claims
By industry sector
By major occupation group