OLYMPIA – During the week of January 31-February 6, there were 15,644 initial regular unemployment claims (down 2.8 percent from the prior week) and 489,442 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 1.5 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 140 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.

Initial regular claims applications, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims and continued claims for regular benefits all decreased over the week.

Reductions in layoffs in the accommodation and food services sector drove the overall decrease in regular initial claims last week. Regular initial claims in the accommodation and food services sector decreased by 140 claims over the week to 1,455 total regular initial claims.

In the week ending February 6, ESD paid out over $256 million for 318,152 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $14.6 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Unemployment claim type

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 forty-nine 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, February 18, 2021 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.