OLYMPIA – During the week of May 31 through June 6, there were 29,713 initial regular unemployment claims (down 4.8% from the prior week) and 729,053 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (a decrease of 45,906) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). ESD believes the continued decrease is due to a variety of reasons including fraud prevention measures and more people going back to work with the reopening of some industry sectors and regions over the past three weeks.
ESD paid out over $545.3 million for 420,772 individual claims.
Since the week ending March 7 when COVID-19 job losses began:
- A total of 2,082,098 initial claims have been filed during the pandemic (1,301,944 regular unemployment insurance, 417,757 PUA and 362,397 PEUC)
- A total of 1,168,129 distinct individuals have filed for unemployment benefits
- ESD has paid out over $5.4 billion in benefits
- 844,077 individuals who have filed an initial claim have been paid
“We continue to see a decline in initial claims, which is expected as the economy starts to reopen,” said ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine. ”Our priorities from day one of this crisis have been to get benefits out to Washingtonians who need them quickly and expand eligibility so those impacted can get the help they need, and we are continuing to ramp up our staffing to work through the large numbers of applicants and adjudications. We know every day matters for people awaiting their benefits. We are committed to processing those claims as quickly as possible.”
Below is a fourteen-week summary of statewide initial claims filed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis:
Weekly data breakdown
Industry sectors experiencing the highest number of initial claims during May 31st- June 6th were:
- Health care and social assistance: 3,867 initial regular claims, up 253 (+3 percent) from the previous week
- Accommodation and food services: 3,174 initial regular claims, up 109 (+4 percent) from previous week
- Retail trade: 2,539 initial regular claims, down 287 (-7 percent) from previous week
- Construction: 2,362 initial regular claims, down 75 (-3 percent) from the previous week
- Manufacturing: 2,330 regular initial claims, up 42 (+2 percent) from the previous week
- Management occupations: 3,721 regular initial claims, down 662 (-15 percent) from the previous week
- Food preparation and serving: 3,140 regular initial claims, down 29 (-1 percent) from previous week
- Office and administrative support: 2,927 regular initial claims, up 123 (+4 percent) from previous week
- Construction and extraction occupations: 2,604 regular initial claims, down 179 (-6 percent) from the previous week
- Transportation and material moving occupations: 2,284 regular initial claims, down 59 (-3 percent) from the previous week
- Sales and related occupations: 2,190 regular initial claims, down 95 (-4 percent) from the previous week
King County, the most populous in the state saw initial regular claims decrease from 8,974 to 8,725 during the week of May 31st- June 6th, down 3 percent from the week before.
Other counties with the largest number of initial claims during the week were:
- Pierce County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 4,069 to 3,703 down 9 percent from the week before.
- Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 3,580 to 3,493 down 2 percent from the week before.
- Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed decreased from 1,973 to 1,765 down 2 percent from the week before.
- Clark County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,385 to 1,425 up 3 percent from the week before.
During the week of May 31st- June 6th:
- By gender: 50.2 percent (14,918) of the initial regular claims were filed by males while 49.4 percent (14,680) were filed by females
- By age group: 26.1 percent (7,768) of initial regular claims were filed by the 25-34 years old age group, followed by 21.1 percent (6,270) by the 35-44 years old age group and 16.9 percent (5,024) by the 45-54 years old age group.
- By race/ethnicity: 60.9 percent (18,106) of initial regular claims were filed by Caucasians, followed by 7.8 percent (2,305) filed by Asians, 6.3 percent filed by Latino/Hispanics (1,875) and 6.0 percent filed by Black/African Americans (1,786).
- By disability status: 2.7 percent (799) of initial regular claims were from individuals identified as having a disability, including 0.8 percent (237) who identified themselves as disabled veterans.
- By veterans status: 5.1 percent (1,513) of initial regular claims were filed by veterans, including 110 initial regular claims from individuals eligible for veterans benefits due to family relations with a veteran
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.