Employment Security Department

Email media inquiries:  media@esd.wa.gov

Initial regular claims and total claims for all benefits decreased during the week of September 12

OLYMPIA – During the week of September 12 to September 18, there were 4,850 initial regular unemployment claims, down 0.2 percent from the prior week. Total claims filed by Washingtonians for all unemployment benefit categories numbered 112,948, down 55.4 percent from the prior week, primarily due to the expiration of federal pandemic benefit programs the previous week.  

  • Initial regular claims applications are 75 percent below weekly new claims applications for the same period last year during the pandemic.
  • The 4-week moving average for regular initial claims was 4,997, a decrease of 127 from the previous week’s 4-week moving average. During the same time in 2019, it was 5,146.
  • Decreases in layoffs in manufacturing & professional, scientific, and technical services contributed to a decrease of 10 regular initial claims over the previous week.
  • Although federal benefit programs, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) as well as the additional $300 per week for most claimants, expired the week ending Sept. 4, 2021, benefits will continue to be paid after 4, 2021 for individuals whose claims are pending in adjudication or on appeal if they are determined to be eligible for payment. Learn more at esd.wa.gov/covid-19.

In the week ending September 18, the Employment Security Department (ESD) paid out over $52 million for 53,687 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March 2020, ESD has paid more than $21.3 billion in benefits to over 1.19 million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

September 12- September 18

September 5- September 11

August 29- September 4

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims




Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims




Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims




Continued or ongoing weekly claims




Total claims




Note: You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website

Below is a eighty-one 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, Sept. 30, 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) was an emergency program established by the federal CARES Act that temporarily expanded unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) was an emergency program established by the federal CARES Act that extended unemployment insurance for those who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.

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