Another drop in weekly unemployment claims in Washington

The state Employment Security Departments reports another drop in initial regular unemployment insurance claims filings last week. 

During the week of March 14 – March 20, there were 11,398 initial regular unemployment claims (down 2.6 percent from the prior week) and 435,675 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 3.1 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

  • Initial regular claims applications are now 91 percent below weekly new claims applications during the same period last year at the start of the pandemic.
  • Initial claims remain elevated (as compared to the 4-week moving average of initial claims pre-pandemic of 6,071 initial claims) and remain at similar levels of initial claims filed during the Great Recession.
  • Decreases in layoffs in Retail trade, Manufacturing and Construction led the overall decrease in regular initial claims last week.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims increased slightly over the week.

As the ESD chart below shows, new claims have been trending down since the first of the year, as vaccinations have become available and business restrictions have eased.

This follows ESD’s monthly report on employment (positive) and this morning’s report on the decline in new UI claims nationally.