Va. among highest in nation for jobless claims last week
50M+ Americans remain unemployed during pandemic
Virginia had the fourth-highest increase in initial jobless claims in the nation last week, according to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) statistics released Thursday.
The DOL statistics released Thursday morning shows that 33,069 Virginians filed initial jobless claims last week, while the VEC report released Thursday afternoon shows 31,825 initial claims. The DOL count is preliminary, while the VEC’s published number is the final count, says Timothy Aylor, VEC senior economist.
The discrepancy presents itself in cases in which people are employed in, but live in, different states, and can also occur when people have more than one job in more than one state.
“The processing of interstate claims can be one source of the difference,” says Aylor.
Nationwide, more than 1.31 million people filed initial claims for unemployment last week, bringing the total of unemployed Americans to more than 50 million in the wake of the pandemic and economic crisis.
In Virginia, 378,607 people remain unemployed — an increase of 11,893 from the previous week. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
In the past 16 weeks, there have been a total of 938,559 initial claims filed in Virginia, according to the VEC. This is more than the total amount of initial claims filed from mid-September 2014 to mid-March 2020. The VEC has paid a total of $5.7 billion in benefits since the pandemic began.
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 27:
- Fairfax County, 2,307
- Norfolk, 2,078
- Richmond, 1,694
- Virginia Beach, 1,665
- Prince William County, 1,226
- Portsmouth, 1,173
- Newport News, 1,101
- Chesapeake, 1,022
- Henrico County, 957
- Chesterfield County, 936
More than 41,000 individuals were contacted last week by the VEC regarding eligibility for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides up to an additional 13 weeks of regular or traditional unemployment insurance benefits to those who have exhausted their eligibility.
The VEC on July 2 launched an application portal for Virginians to access the PEUC program, which is provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The VEC has since paid out $9.9 million in PEUC benefits to more than 12,000 people. The program is available through the week ending Dec. 26. Forty-one states reported 850,461 individuals claiming PEUC last week.
States with the largest increases in initial claims for the week that ended on June 27 were Michigan, Indiana, Texas, Virginia and Kentucky, while the largest decreases were seen in Oklahoma, Florida, Maryland, Georgia and California.
U.S. claims were down by 99,000 from the week prior. For the week ending June 20, 47 states reported that nearly 14.3 million people are claiming federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides temporary benefits for people who are not eligible for regular or traditional unemployment insurance. That’s 1.3 million more people than the week prior, with the same number of states reporting.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 12.4% for the week that ended June 27, a decrease of 0.5% from the previous week.
The states and U.S. territories with the highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending on June 20 were Puerto Rico, Nevada, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, New York, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Georgia and Connecticut.