OLYMPIA – During the week of January 17-23, there were 16,461 initial regular unemployment claims (down 14.3 percent from the prior week) and 482,158 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 2.8 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 107 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.

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

Reductions in layoffs in accommodation and food services and in the retail trade sector drove a decrease in new regular jobless claims last week. Regular initial claims in the accommodation and food services sector decreased by 464 claims over the week to 1,814 total regular initial claims. In the retail trade sector initial claims decreased by 318 initial claims over the week.

Extended Benefits claims accounted for the bulk of the increase in continued claims over the week. Extended Benefits claims increased across all industry sectors over the week, with the Accommodation and Food services (+794) and Retail trade (+515) sectors experiencing the largest increases.

In the week ending January 23, ESD paid out over $234 million for 300,222 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $14 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-seven 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 4, 2021 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.