396K+ Virginians remain unemployed during pandemic
44.5M Americans unemployed; initial claims continue drop
Nearly 400,000 Virginians are still unemployed following the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, though the number of initial jobless claims across the commonwealth continues to decrease.
The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced Thursday that 822,300 initial unemployment claims have been filed since March 15, with approximately 75% of these claims having been approved and received payment. More than $3.8 billion has been distributed to people who have lost wages during the pandemic.
About 29,000 Virginians filed initial claims for unemployment last week, down from roughly 31,000 the prior week, according to the VEC. The state’s weekly unemployment numbers have continued to decline since peaking in early April, when 147,369 Virginians filed initial jobless claims in a single week. Last week there were 2,148 fewer claimants.
However, 396,056 people remain unemployed in Virginia — 376,977 more than the same week last year, which saw only 19,079 continued claims. People receiving unemployment benefits through 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 June 6 filing week equaled 48% of all initial claims filed during the pandemic to this point. This percentage has trended downward in recent weeks.”
More than 1.5 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 nearly 44.5 million in the wake of the economic crisis.
Last week’s U.S. claims were down by 355,000. In the week ending May 23, 42 states reported that 9.7 million people are claiming federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides temporary benefits for people who are not eligible for regular or traditional unemployment insurance. For the most recent filing week, 201,362 Virginians filed these claims, according to the VEC — 7,691 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 June 6:
- Fairfax County, 2,745
- Prince William County, 1,414
- Richmond, 1,319
- Virginia Beach, 1,236
- Norfolk, 1,139
- Henrico County, 969
- Chesterfield County, 965
- Loudoun County, 910
- Newport News, 888
- Chesapeake, 740
Thirty-two states reported 518,942 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 14.4% for the week that ended May 30, a 0.2% decrease from the previous week.
The states with the highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending on May 23 were Maine, Nevada, Michigan, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
States with the largest increases in initial claims for the week that ended on May 30 were Florida, California, Oklahoma, and Mississippi, while the largest decreases were seen in New York, Michigan, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington.