Va. new jobless claims drop for third week in a row
New unemployment claims fell 38% last week
Virginia’s new unemployment claims fell for the third week in a row last week, declining by 38%, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.
For the filing week ending Sept. 11, the state recorded 3,822 new jobless claims, down 2,357 from the previous week. Continued jobless claims also decreased, down 3,811 claims from the previous week to 40,624.
Compared to the same week last year, initial claims were 62% lower last week than the 10,100 recorded in that week, and continued claims were 80% lower than a year ago, when they totaled 201,616.
People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits. On Sept. 5, the VEC reinstated the unpaid “waiting week” for unemployment insurance for the first week that a claimant files.
“The latest data shows mostly good news. Initial claims for unemployment benefits in Virginia declined approximately 38% from the previous week,” Dominique Johnson, research associate at Old Dominion University’s Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy, said in a statement. “The 3,822 initial claims filed during the week ending Sept. 11 are not far from the 2,236 initial claims filed during the comparable week in 2019 and are less than half of the roughly 10,000 weekly initial claims filed over the last year. In more good news, the number of Virginians receiving some form of benefits also declined from the previous week.”
“As initial claims declined, continued claims also moved downward last week, though the level of continued claims remains twice that of the pre-pandemic average,” Dragas Center Director Robert McNab said in a statement. “The return of children to school and the end of federal expanded unemployment benefits, as well as the need for new claimants to wait a week to receive benefits will all work to push continued claims lower in the coming months. However, continued concerns about the COVID-19 delta variant and the end of the summer season are likely to dampen expectations in the coming weeks. One of the fundamental elements of a robust recovery continues to be vaccinations, as data show that unvaccinated Virginians are hospitalized at a rate 10 to 15 times higher than fully vaccinated Virginians.”
The federal government’s unemployment benefits stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the $300 a week supplemental benefit Virginians received via VEC, ended Sept. 4. Also, the federal government’s eviction moratorium ended this month, but Virginia has extended its moratorium to June 2022. According to U.S. Census data, Virginia has delivered more rent relief than any other state, having distributed more than 50% of funds received from the federal government.
Additionally, the deadline for VEC’s federal court order to get through a backlog of 92,000 unemployment claims ended Sept. 7. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ordered the state agency and legal aid groups representing plaintiffs whose claims were delayed to meet before Sept. 25 to create a plan to address further issues.
The majority of the claimants who filed for benefits last week reported being in these industries: health care and social assistance; administrative and waste services; retail; and accommodations/food service. The regions of the state that have been most impacted continue to be Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.
Nationwide, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims last week was 332,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised level. There were 860,000 initial claims in the comparable week last year.