Another drop in Washington’s weekly unemployment claims

The state Employment Security Department reports another drop in regular initial unemployment claims in the state.

During the week of April 25 – May 1, there were 10,507 initial regular unemployment claims (down 9.6 percent from the prior week) and 404,257 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 0.9 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications are now 90 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 13,158 (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.
  • Decreases in layoffs in Retail Trade and Educational Services contributed to the decrease in regular initial claims last week.
  • Initial claims applications for regular benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUC) and continued claims for regular benefits all decreased over the week while initial claims applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) increased slightly over the week.

Washington Research Council economist Kriss Sjoblom has charted the trends

In The Seattle Times, Paul Roberts reports,

The number of new claims in Washington, though barely a tenth of the weekly volume received by the ESD a year ago, remains high by historical standards.

The state’s four-week moving average for new claims last week was 13,158, which is more than double the level recorded just before the pandemic — and is roughly similar to levels during the Great Recession, according to the ESD.

In Washington, the number of overall claims — new claims plus ongoing claims that claimants must file each week to receive benefits — dropped to 404,257 last week after hovering around 420,000 since mid-March.

Trending in the right direction, faster please.