402K+ Virginians still unemployed, although initial claims fall
Total nationwide jobless numbers now at 41.1 million
More than 402,000 Virginians are still unemployed following the economic devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic, though the number of initial jobless claims in the commonwealth continues to decrease.
About 39,000 Virginians filed initial claims for unemployment last week, down from roughly 44,000 the prior week, according to the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). The state’s weekly unemployment rolls have continued to decline since peaking in early April, when 147,369 Virginians filed initial jobless claims in a single week.
Nevertheless, a total of 402,926 Virginians filed for unemployment benefits last week — down 631 from the previous week. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
“The continued claims total is mainly comprised of those recent initial claimants who continued to file for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic,” VEC Economist Timothy Aylor said in a statement. “Continued claims during the May 23 filing week equaled 53% of all initial claims filed during the pandemic to this point. This percentage has trended downward in recent weeks.
More than 2.1 million people in the United States filed initial claims for unemployment last week, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, bringing the total of unemployed Americans to more than 41.1 million in the wake of the economic crisis.
Last week’s U.S. claims were down by 323,000. In the week ending May 9, 33 states reported that 7.79 million people are claiming federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides temporary benefits for people who are not eligible for regular or traditional unemployment insurance.
In Virginia, 193,684 filed the Pandemic Unemployment claims, according to the VEC, 12,705 of which were initial claims.
The regions of the state that have been most impacted continue to be Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.
Below are the top 10 localities, listed by number of initial unemployment claims, for the week ending May 23:
- Fairfax County, 4,392
- Prince William County, 2,268
- Virginia Beach, 1,756
- Richmond, 1,685
- Loudoun County, 1,456
- Norfolk, 1,391
- Henrico County, 1,346
- Chesterfield County, 1,333
- Newport News, 1,102
- Chesapeake, 1,026
Twenty-two states reported 222,300 individuals claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides up to an additional 13 weeks of regular or traditional unemployment insurance benefits to those who have exhausted their eligibility.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 14.5% for the week that ended May 16, a 2.6% decrease from the previous week.
The states with the highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending on May 9 were Washington, Nevada, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, California, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut and Georgia.
States with the largest increases in initial claims for the week that ended on May 16 were California, Washington, New York, Florida and Michigan, while the largest decreases were in Georgia, New Jersey, Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania.