Initial regular UI claims up 10% in Washington last week; continuing claims drop 6.5%.

A mixed UI claims report today from the state Employment Security Department.

During the week of August 30 through September 5, there were 20,006 initial regular unemployment claims (up 10.1 percent from the prior week) and 531,425 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 6.5 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 299 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Regular continuing claims decreased over the previous week while initial claims applications for Regular Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) all increased over the week.

Here’s the ESD table of claims for recent weeks.

The department reports claims are up in metro counties.

King County, the most populous county in the state, saw initial regular claims increase from 4,763 to 5,461 during the week of August 30 – September 5, up 15 percent from the week before.

Other counties with the largest number of initial claims during the week were:

  • Pierce County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 2,443 to 2,509 up 3 percent from the week before.
  • Snohomish County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,911 to 2,391 up 25 percent from the week before.
  • Spokane County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 1,040 to 1,076 up 3 percent from the week before.
  • Clark County: Initial regular claims filed increased from 867 to 978 up 13 percent from the week before.

More here.

The ongoing high level of unemployment claims is depleting the UI trust fund, increasing that UI tax increases on employers next year will stall the economic recovery. We discuss possible strategies to minimize the damage here.