OLYMPIA – During the week of May 16 – May 22, there were 11,666 initial regular unemployment claims (down 40.5 percent from the prior week) and 416,462 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 11.2 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

Initial regular claims applications are now 76 percent below weekly new claims applications during the same period last year during the pandemic.

The 4-week moving average for initial claims remain elevated at 14,599 (as compared to the 4-week moving average of initial claims pre-pandemic of 6,071 initial claims) and remains at similar levels of initial claims filed during the Great Recession.

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

Decreases in layoffs in Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Construction contributed to the decrease in regular initial claims last week.

In the week ending May 22, ESD paid out over $233 million for 292,823 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March 2020, ESD has paid more than $18.4 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Also available is a sixty-four-week summary of statewide initial claims filed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis: Note: You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website.

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.