8/27/2020

Employment Security Department
20-046

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 27, 2020 

CONTACTS

Media inquiries: media@ESD.WA.GOV


All initial and continued unemployment benefit claims declined during week of August 16-22

OLYMPIA – During the week of August 16 through August 22, there were 18,389 initial regular unemployment claims (down 16.2 percent from the prior week) and 568,881 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 4.8 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 288 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Regular Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims as well as continuing claims all decreased over the previous week.

ESD paid out over $182.8 million for 357,077 individual claims – a decrease of $15.4 million and 5,760 fewer individuals compared to the prior week. 

CORRECTION: Since the week ending March 7 when the COVID-19 losses began, ESD has paid out more than $9.89 billion in benefits. It was previously stated that ESD has paid out more than $10.1 billion in benefits, but that is the total since the start of 2020.

Unemployment claim type

Week of

August 16-August 22

Week of

August 9-August 15

Week of

August 2-August 8

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims

18,389

21,942

22,140

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims

4,256

4,726

4,540

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims

6,011

6,294

6,301

Continued/ongoing weekly claims

540,225

564,512*

579,503

Total claims

568,881

597,474

612,484

*Figure was revised upward from the previously reported figure of 556,669

For more information on current claimants and claims processing progress, please go to the benefits data dashboard on the ESD website.

Below is a twenty-five-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 August 16- August 22 were:

  • Accommodation and food services: 2,161 initial regular claims, down 338 (-14 percent) from previous week
  • Construction: 1,787 initial regular claims, down 97 (-5 percent) from the previous week
  • Health care and social assistance: 1,686 initial regular claims, down 345 (-17 percent) from the previous week
  • Retail trade: 1,530 initial regular claims, down 240 (-14 percent) from previous week
  • Manufacturing: 1,461 regular initial claims, down 803 (-35 percent) from the previous week

By occupation

  • Food preparation and serving: 2,223 regular initial claims, down 280 (-11 percent) from previous week
  • Management occupations:  2,035 regular initial claims, down 213 (-9 percent) from the previous week
  • Construction and extraction occupations:  1,975 regular initial claims, down 165 (-8 percent) from the previous week
  • Transportation and material moving occupations:  1,490 regular initial claims, down 236 (-14 percent) from previous week
  • Sales as related occupations:  1,208 regular initial claims, down 235 (-16 percent) from the previous week

By county

King County, the most populous county in the state, saw initial regular claims decrease from 5,860 to 4,773 during the week of August 16 - August 22, down 19 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 2,776 to 2,388 down 14 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 2,617 to 2,083 down 20 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 1,243 to 1,057 down 15 percent from the week before.
  • Thurston County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 716 to 675 down 6 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 August 16 –

August 22

Week of August 9 – August 15

During height of the recession

Employers with an approved SharedWork plan

3,555 employers covering 155,562 employees

3,526 employers covering 155,022 employees

2,500 employers covering approximately 46,000 employees

Individuals who filed weekly claims for the SharedWork program

 

55,435

 

 57,307

 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.

NOTE: ESD will send out the next weekly new claims press release on Thursday, September 3 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