375K+ remain unemployed in Va. during pandemic
47.5M Americans are jobless
More than 375,000 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 874,779 people have filed initial unemployment claims since March 15. However, the total of initial claims for the week ending June 20 was the lowest since before the initial spike in unemployment insurance claims during the March 21 filing week, according to the VEC.
More than 25,000 Virginians filed initial claims, a decrease of nearly 1,900 from the week prior. However, 375,579 people remain unemployed in Virginia — 355,910 more than the same week last year, which saw only 19,669 continued claims. 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 June 20 filing week equaled 43% of all initial claims filed during the pandemic to this point. This percentage has trended downward in recent weeks.”
The VEC last week, however, reported that more than 12,000 Virginians who have filed jobless claims during the pandemic have refused to return to work, while there are approximately 400,000 job vacancies posted on the Virginia Workforce Connection website. According to the VEC, many of these are cases in which an employer disputed an applicant’s reason for being out of work.
The VEC reminds Virginians that those who are called back to work must generally return and that, under law, an employer is not required to keep a position open for an employee who refuses to go back to work. If a claimant received an overpayment of benefits, they’ll be required to pay it back. Employers can report employees who refuse to return to work through the VEC website.
Last week, 1.48 million people in the United States filed initial claims for unemployment, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released Thursday, bringing the total of unemployed Americans to approximately 47.5 million in the wake of the pandemic and economic crisis.
U.S. claims were down by 60,000 from last week. For the week ending June 6, 46 states reported that more than 11 million people are claiming federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides temporary benefits for people who are not eligible for regular or traditional unemployment insurance.
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 20:
- Fairfax County, 2,212
- Norfolk, 1,224
- Richmond, 1,214
- Prince William County, 1,135
- Virginia Beach, 1,120
- Newport News, 795
- Chesterfield County, 754
- Chesapeake, 728
- Henrico County, 718
- Portsmouth, 700
Thirty-eight states reported 851,983 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 13.4% for the week that ended June 13, a 0.5% decrease from the previous week.
The states and U.S. territories with the highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending on June 6 were Nevada, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, New York, California, Michigan, Louisiana, Massachusetts, the Virgin Island and Connecticut.
States with the largest increases in initial claims for the week that ended on June 13 were Oklahoma, Texas, New Jersey, New York and Louisiana, while the largest decreases were seen in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, California and Michigan.
View more unemployment information via VEC’s unemployment claims data dashboard below: