Washington regular, initial UI claims up more than 40% last week; nationally, 1.3 million UI claims filed last week; a slight decrease.

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

During the week of July 5 through July 11, there were 40,466 initial regular unemployment claims (up 42.5% from the prior week) and 706,309 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 4.1% 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 549 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims as well as continued/ongoing claims all decreased over the previous week.

The Seattle Times explains,

In yet another sign that Washington’s economy has further to fall during the pandemic, the state saw a surge in new claims for unemployment insurance.

For the week ending July 11, workers filed 40,466 new, or “initial,” claims for unemployment insurance, according to data released Thursday by the state Employment Security Department. That represents a 42.5% increase from the prior week and a marked change after six weeks when claims either fell or rose only modestly…

Among the hardest hit sectors in Washington: accommodation and food services, which saw a 47% increase from the previous week, to 4,534 initial claims; retail, up 36% to 3,023 ; and manufacturing, up 13% to 2,952.

Here’s the table showing recent claims history.

The news comes as Gov. Inslee announces a pause in the reopening of the state economy, as The Seattle Times reports.

Counties in Washington state won’t be able to relax restrictions further for at least two weeks as confirmed cases of the new coronavirus climb around the state, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday.

And with a “steady increase” in cases across Washington, the governor, in a news conference, warned he may have to roll back parts of the gradual reopening made in recent months since the pandemic peaked here.

The Washington Research Council has more on state employment

Nationally, the Department of Labor reports a slight decrease in claims filed, with a corresponding drop in the unemployment rate.

In the week ending July 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,300,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 4,000 from 1,314,000 to 1,310,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,375,000, a decrease of 60,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 2,250 from 1,437,250 to 1,435,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11.9 percent for the week ending July 4, a decrease of 0.3 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate. The previous week’s rate was revised down by 0.2 from 12.4 to 12.2 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 4 was 17,338,000, a decrease of 422,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 302,000 from 18,062,000 to 17,760,000. The 4-week moving average was 18,272,250, a decrease of 737,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 75,500 from 19,085,500 to 19,010,000.

Some positive news also on increasing builder confidence and increasing retail sales (also here),  But, as always – and as underscored by the pause in Washington – uncertainty remains elevated. The Associated Press reports,

he Federal Reserve says economic activity has picked up in most regions of the country but still remains well below pre-pandemic levels with the country facing high levels of uncertainty.

The Fed reported Wednesday that its latest survey of economic conditions around the country found improvements in consumer spending and other areas but said the gains were from very low levels seen when widespread lockdowns push the country into a deep recession.

And the report said that business contacts in the Fed’s 12 regions remained wary about the future.

“Outlooks remained highly uncertain as contacts grappled with how long the COVID-19 pandemic would continue and the magnitude of its economic implications,” the Fed said in its latest Beige Book.

We’re far from out of the woods.