11/19/2020

Employment Security Department
#20-066

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Nov. 19, 2020
Email media inquiries:  media@esd.wa.gov  

Initial regular unemployment decreased during the week of November 8 – 14 while continued claims for regular unemployment benefits increased

OLYMPIA – During the week of November 8- 14, there were 16,837 initial regular unemployment claims (down 33.2 percent from the prior week) and 434,114 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 1.2 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 123 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation initial claims decreased over the week.
  • Continued/ongoing claims for regular benefits increased 3.7 percent over the week.
  • The decrease in initial claims this week was expected. It is connected to a process required by law where some existing claimants must submit a new initial claim to ensure they are receiving benefits from the correct program. This process was a contributing factor to the increase in initial claims in last week’s release. You can learn more about that requirement on our website.

In the week ending November 14, ESD paid out over $128.2 million for 275,893 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $12.4 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

Week of

November 8-November 14

Week of

November 1-November 7

Week of

October 25-October 31

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims

16,837

25,201

14,681

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims

2,693

2,768

3,051

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims

6,836

7,840

6,702

Continued/ongoing weekly claims

407,748

393,254

441,129

Total claims

434,114

429,063

465,563

 

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

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 thirty-seven-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.

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