New, continued jobless claims maintain decline in Va.
Last week, initial claims fell to 7,210
Virginia’s unemployment claims, both initial and continued, fell again last week, continuing the positive trend of the last few weeks, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.
For the filing week ending June 5, 7,210 people filed new unemployment claims, a decrease of 880 claims since the previous week. Continued claims totaled 50,261 last week, a decrease of 1,967 claims filed the previous week.
“For the sixth consecutive week, initial claims for unemployment insurance in the commonwealth are down from the previous week,” Old Dominion University Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy research associate Dominique Johnson said in a statement. “We see a similar trend in the number of Virginians receiving unemployment benefits, which has declined approximately 16.8% over the last four weeks. With the relaxation of mask mandates and social distancing requirements in Virginia, we expect the recovery to continue to accelerate in the coming months.”
This time a year ago, during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, 29,231 people filed new unemployment claims, 75.3% more than last week, while 396,056 people filed continued claims, 87% more than last week. 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 these industries: accommodations/food service; administrative and waste services; retail trade; and health care and social assistance.
The regions of the state that have been most impacted continue to be Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.
“Continued vaccinations and the relaxation of social distancing requirements have spurred hiring and lowered initial unemployment claims nationally,” Robert McNab, director of the Dragas Center, said in a statement. “Compared to the first week of January 2021, initial unemployment claims have fallen 59% while continued claims have declined by 42%.
“While regular state continued claims have steadily decreased, continued claims through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs have not fallen as quickly. With states now moving to end participation in the PUA and PEUC programs as well as the additional $300 a week in unemployment compensation, continued claims are likely to fall swiftly in the coming weeks. We continue to project robust growth through 2021, although we are increasingly concerned about inflationary expectations undermining a sustained recovery.”
Nationwide, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims last week was 376,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and the lowest number of initial claims since March 14, 2020, the week before the COVID pandemic prompted mass layoffs. There were 1,556,548 initial claims during the same week last year.