OLYMPIA – During the week of December 13 – December 19, there were 17,596 initial regular unemployment claims (down 10.0 percent from the prior week) and 458,912 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 6.6 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 99 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications. (17,596 for the current week versus 8,829 for the same week the prior year).

Initial claims for regular unemployment, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and continued/ongoing claims for regular benefits all decreased over the week.

Decreases in regular initial claims over the week occurred across most industry sectors with the largest decreases over the week occurring in the Accommodation and food services (-963) and Manufacturing (-312) industry sectors. Increases in regular initial claims occurred in the construction sector (+352) during the week.

The increase in initial claims for the PEUC program this week occurred mainly within Extended Benefit initial claims (+2,474 initial claims increase for prior week) while initial claims for PEUC were down 611 initial claims.

The 30,708 decrease in continued/ongoing claims for all entitlement programs was primarily due to regular unemployment insurance benefits payments which decreased 19,175 over the week as well as PUA benefit payments which decreased by 13,617.

In the week ending December 19, ESD paid out over $154 million for 305,547 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $13.1 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

For more information on current claimants and claims processing progress, please go to the benefits data dashboard on the ESD website.

Note: Detailed claims data and charts by county, industry and occupation will be included in this release on the first Thursday of every month. You can find detailed claims data anytime on the ESD website.

Below is a forty-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, December 31, 2020 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.