Initial regular UI claims last week down 27% from prior week; total claims down nearly 5% from prior week.

The Employment Security Department reports weekly UI claims declined sharply this past week, but remain extremely high.

During the week of July 12 through July 18, there were 29,438 initial regular unemployment claims (down 27.3% from the prior week) and 673,444 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 4.7% from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications remain at unprecedented elevated levels and are at 536 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims as well as continued/ongoing claims all decreased over the previous week.

The commissioner says,

“This past week, for the first time since the pandemic began, all initial claim types as well as continued and ongoing weekly claims decreased,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “We are making excellent progress on our efforts to resolve the claims for those who have been waiting the longest, having reduced that backlog by nearly 75 percent. And for those looking to return to work, or who cannot yet return due to the crisis, I encourage you to check out the return to work and refusal of work pages on our website for the latest information. Both job seekers and employers should also go to for job postings, employment resources in your local community, and for virtual services – including  virtual job fairs, which directly connect job seekers and employers across the state.”

We reported on the national numbers this morning. Here’s the table showing claims filed in recent weeks.

Continued declines, of course, depend on the path of the pandemic.