State Employment Security Department reports 19,574 new regular initial claims last week, up 6.4%.

More than 19,000 new initial regular unemployment claims were filed with the state Employment Security Department last week. 

During the week of September 13 through September 19, there were 19,574 initial regular unemployment claims (up 6.4 percent from the prior week) and 540,153 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 4.6 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 271 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Initial claims applications for regular Unemployment Insurance increased over the week while continued claims for regular Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims all decreased over the week.

As we noted last week in our post on the latest state economic and revenue update from the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, the economy has recovered nearly half the jobs lost in March and April. Today’s report is a timely reminder of the ongoing extraordinary level of unemployment. Here’s the ESD data summary.

The Seattle Times report on today’s release points out,  

Washington’s job market continues to struggle against pandemic-related losses and closures, with some of the sharpest pain coming in the hospitality and travel sectors.

New jobless claims among hotel and restaurant workers jumped 17% last week compared to the prior week, according to data released Thursday by the state Employment Security Department (ESD). That increase was nearly three times as fast as jobless claims generally.

ST business reporter John Roberts highlights some daunting numbers.

Since the start of the pandemic, the lodging sector alone has lost 28,640 jobs, according to the Washington State Hospitality Association.

In downtown Seattle, total hotel revenue has been down by 90% or more from its 2019 levels nearly every day since March, the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) reported Sept. 11

Although 14 of 29 downtown hotels that had closed are now open, according to DSA figures, many hotel properties face new financial risks.

The Washington State Convention Center reported cancellations of 45 future citywide events, representing $333.1 million in lost sales and other economic benefits, the DSA reported.

More on this from the Washington Research Council.