OLYMPIA – During the week of February 21 – 27, there were 12,958 initial regular unemployment claims (down 7.7 percent from the prior week) and 459,328 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 0.6 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 128 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.

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

Initial claims applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) increased slightly at 1.3 percent over the week.

Decreases in layoffs in Accommodation & Food Services and Construction led the overall decrease in regular initial claims last week. Regular initial claims in the Accommodation & Food Services sector decreased by 400 initial claims over the week to 1,052 total regular initial claims. Initial claims for regular benefits in the Construction sector decreased by 325 initial claims over the week to 2,441 initial claims.

In the week ending February 27, ESD paid out over $255 million for 315,399 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $15.3 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

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 fifty-two 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, March 11, 2021 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.