OLYMPIA - During the week of November 22-28, there were 22,334 initial regular unemployment claims filed in Washington State (down 26.2 percent from the prior week) and 459,681 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 1.1 percent from the prior week), according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).
Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 184 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
Initial regular claims applications, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims all decreased over the week.
The drop in initial claims this week correlate to industries that saw the most significant increases in initial claims last week, when the impacts of the public health restrictions first appeared in the weekly data. This indicates those impacts have leveled out this week. Initial claims in the Accommodation and Food Services sector were down 2,769 over the week. Initial claims from the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector were down 480 over the week and initial claims in the Retail trade sector were down 720 initial claims over the week. In terms of decreases in initial claims by occupations over the week, the largest decreases occurred in initial claims filed from food preparation and serving related occupations, which was down 3,390 initial claims over the week.
In the week ending November 28, ESD paid out over $133.8 million for 287,662 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $12.6 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.
Below is a thirty-nine week summary of statewide initial claims filed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis: