Employment Security Department

Email media inquiries:  media@esd.wa.gov  

Initial and continued unemployment claims for regular benefits decreased during the week of February 28 – March 6

OLYMPIA – During the week of February 28 – March 6, there were 11,760 initial regular unemployment claims (down 9.2 percent from the prior week) and 453,503 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 remain at elevated levels and are at 79 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Decreases in layoffs in Construction led the overall decrease in regular initial claims last week. Regular initial claims in the Construction sector decreased by 686 initial claims over the week to 1,755 total regular initial claims.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims increased slightly over the week.

In the week ending March 6th, ESD paid out over $259 million for 314,202 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $15.5 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

Week of

February 28- March 6

Week of

February 21- February 27

Week of

February 14- February 20

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims




Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims




Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims




Continued/ongoing weekly claims


440, 927


Total claims




Note: Detailed claims data and charts by county, industry and occupation will be included in this release on a monthly basis. You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website.

Below is a fifty-three 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, March 18, 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 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 CARES Act that extends unemployment insurance for an extra 13 weeks to those who have exhausted their benefits.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is an emergency program established by the CARES Act to increase unemployment benefits for Americans who are out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under FPUC, eligible people who collect certain unemployment insurance benefits—including regular unemployment compensation—will get an extra $600 in federal benefits each week through the week ending July 25, 2020. 

Web links

COVID-19 resources

Labor market web links

Find a regional economist