Updated: Nearly 110,000 new UI claims filed Washington; 3.2 million nationally. 9 states seek federal UI advances.

An update and clarification: The 110,000 claims cited in the headline and the ST story below do not include  claims filed under the federal pandemic UI programs. Kriss Sjoblom of the Washington Research Council explains:

ESD reported a total of 200,263 initial claims for unemployment insurance during the April 26–May 2 week. Of this total, 100,762 initial claims were under the regular unemployment insurance program; 59,234 claims were under the federal pandemic unemployment assistance program, which covers self-employed persons, independent contractors and part-time workers; and 40,267 claims were under the federal pandemic unemployment compensation program, which extends the maximum term of benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks.


Another week of soaring unemployment insurance claims being filed, although showing a bit of improvement. 

The Seattle Times reports nearly 110,000 new claims were filed in Washington.

Washington’s growing army of unemployed workers filed nearly 110,000 initial claims for jobless benefits as the state economy moved toward its eighth week under the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the week ending May 2, the state received 109,167 initial claims for unemployment insurance, down almost 22% from the prior week, according to U.S. Labor Department figures released Thursday morning.

Washington’s latest claims numbers were part of the nearly 3.2 million initial claims for unemployment benefits filed across the United States last week, the Labor Department reported. That brings the nationwide number of initial claims filed since early March, when employers began shedding workers, to a total of about 33.5 million.

More from the Department of Labor report on the national numbers.

In the week ending May 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 3,169,000, a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 7,000 from 3,839,000 to 3,846,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,173,500, a decrease of 861,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,750 from 5,033,250 to 5,035,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 15.5 percent for the week ending April 25, an increase of 3.1 percentage points from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 25 was 22,647,000, an increase of 4,636,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 19,000 from 17,992,000 to 18,011,000. The 4-week moving average was 17,097,750, an increase of 3,800,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 5,000 from 13,292,500 to 13,297,500.

The national graph continues to startle.

The upside, as reported by CNBC.

Though the numbers remain stark, it was the lowest total since the second week of March, shortly after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus strain a pandemic.

Bloomberg reports,

California, Texas and Georgia reported the highest levels of unadjusted initial claims last week. Most states posted declines from the prior week.

We’ve written about the stress UI trust funds are experiencing during the crisis. California and Texas are among nine states that have indicated they will be seeking advances from the federal government to pay UI benefits, according to Politico. Earlier this week California became to the first state to borrow from the feds for UI.  Adding to California’s challenges: a projected $54 billion budget shortfall.

Politico reports,

Illinois, which had fiscal problems before the coronavirus, tops the list with an $11 billion request in May and June.

California, the first state to borrow, plans to seek the next-highest amount over the same two months: $8 billion.

Texas will ask for advances totaling $6.4 billion in May, June and July and New York will ask for $4.4 billion in the same three months.

Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Ohio and West Virginia have also signaled an intent to borrow between May and July to fund their unemployment systems. Some of the states, like Illinois and California, only requested advances for May and June.

Slow improvement, but major tests ahead in the coming weeks as the economy begins to reopen.