Slight dip in unemployment claims filed in Washington last week; numbers remain historically high.

The state Employment Security Department reports that unemployment insurance claims decreased slightly last week. 

During the week of July 19 through July 25, there were 28,840 initial regular unemployment claims (down 1.7% from the prior week) and 677,355 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 0.6% 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 524 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims decreased over the previous week while continued/ongoing claims increased over the same time period.

Here’s the ESD chart for the most recent three weeks.

The Washington Research Council analyzes the numbers and has this useful chart tracking claims over time. Note the relatively modest claims increase during the Great Recession.

The WRC provides this caution.

A note of caution about this chart: In May, Washington’s unemployment insurance system was hit by a rash of fraudulent claims (press release here). ESD believes that most of the fraudulent claims were filed between May 1 and May 16, which coincides with the second, lower peak during the current recession.