State employment security department reports 10% increase in unemployment claims

The Washington State Employment Security Department reports another weekly increase in initial unemployment insurance claims.

During the week of November 29 – December 5, there were 24,587 initial regular unemployment claims (up 10.1 percent from the prior week) and 492,533 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 7.1 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 145 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Initial regular claims applications, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims and continued/ongoing claims for regular benefits all increased over the week.
  • Increases in regular initial claims over the week occurred across most industry sectors with the largest increases over the week occurring in the Health Care and Social Assistance (+587) and Construction (+561) industry sectors. Increases in construction industry claims are expected this time of year. The increases from within the HealthCare and Social Assistance sector came primarily from child day care services, services for the elderly and persons with disabilities, and from general medical and surgical hospitals. 

The claims come in as Washington continues to combat rising COVID-19 cases, with extended restrictions on business and social activity.