State weekly regular unemployment claims rise 3.6% from previous week.

The state Employment Security Department reports an increase in unemployment insurance claims last week.

During the week of March 28 – April 3, there were 11,863 initial regular unemployment claims (up 3.6 percent from the prior week) and 426,803 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 0.8 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications are now 93 percent below weekly new claims applications during the same period last year at the start of the pandemic.
  • Initial claims remain elevated (as compared to the 4-week moving average of initial claims pre-pandemic of 6,071 initial claims) and remain at similar levels of initial claims filed during the Great Recession.
  • Increases in layoffs in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services as well as Administrative Support Services sectors contributed to the increase in regular initial claims last week.
  • Initial claims applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUC) as well as continued claims for regular benefits all decreased over the week.

In The Seattle Times, Paul Roberts reports,

Washington’s increase in new claims comes amid renewed concerns about the state’s rising count of COVID-19 cases even as the state vaccination program is expanding rapidly. Starting April 15, all Washingtonians 16 and older will be eligible for a jab.

Earlier, we noted an increase in UI claims nationally as well. Overall, however, we are optimistic that the economy will continue to open up and hiring resume.