Weekly initial unemployment claims in state fell by more than 20% last week.

The state Employment Security Department reports a big drop in initial Unemployment Insurance claims in the most recent week.

During the week of June 6 – June 12, there were 6,892 initial regular unemployment claims (down 22.3 percent from the prior week) and 383,776 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 0.7 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

  • Initial regular claims applications are now 76 percent below weekly new claims applications during the same period last year during the pandemic.
  • The 4-week moving average for initial claims remains elevated at 9,378 (as compared to the 4-week moving average of initial claims pre-pandemic of 6,071 initial claims) and remains at similar levels of initial claims filed during the Great Recession.
  • Initial claims applications for regular benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and continued/ongoing claims for regular benefits all decreased over the week.
  • Initial claims applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) increased slightly over the week.
  • Decreases in layoffs in Retail Trade, Manufacturing and Administrative and Support Services contributed to the decrease in regular initial claims last week.

More on this at the Washington Research Council blog.

Related, Paul Roberts reports that the ESD is again trying to improve verification, following earlier problems determining eligibility for UI benefits.

Last November, tens of thousands of Washingtonians were told to repay millions of dollars in federal unemployment benefits after the state botched a process for verifying eligibility.

Now, Washington is taking another run at the verification process, which state officials say has been improved to avoid earlier glitches. But much still depends on whether those many thousands can be persuaded to answer questions about unemployment benefits that may have been received, and spent, months ago.  

On Friday, the state Employment Security Department began sending notices to roughly 105,000 current and former claimants asking them to verify their eligibility. 

Verification is required by the federal government, which won’t pay federal pandemic benefits to unemployed workers who are eligible instead for regular state unemployment benefits.

More detail in his Seattle Times story.