In past year, 1.5 million filed unemployment claims in Va.
Total exceeds total number filed during past three economic recessions, VEC says
Marking one year since mass layoffs began due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Employment Commission said Thursday that the number of initial claims filed statewide in the past year — 1.5 million since the March 21, 2020 filing week — has exceeded the total number filed during the past three economic recessions since 1990.
According to VEC stats, 441,817 people filed claims in 1990; 326,190 in 2001 and 664,792 in 2007, compared with 1,508,365 in the past year.
Also, the number of initial claims increased last week compared to the week ending March 6, while continued claims fell by 3.7%. For the filing week ending March 13, 15,525 people filed new claims for unemployment insurance, an increase from 13,736 the previous week, VEC reported. Continued claims filed last week totaled 59,976, far higher than the same week in 2020, when 21,336 continued claims were filed. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
More than half of the claimants who filed for benefits last week (and the prior four weeks) reported being in the accommodation/food service, administrative and waste services, retail trade and health care and social assistance industries, according to the VEC.
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 March 13:
- Norfolk, 1,256
- Richmond, 787
- Alexandria, 709
- Virginia Beach, 664
- Fairfax County, 533
- Prince William County, 356
- Hampton, 340
- Newport News, 313
- Chesterfield County, 311
- Chesapeake, 285
Nationwide, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims last week was 770,000, an increase of 45,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. There were 251,416 initial claims during the same week last year.