Va. saw nation’s second-highest jobless spike last week
News comes amid reports that U.S. GDP sank to lowest point on record in Q2
Coming on the heels of reports that the U.S. domestic gross product in the second quarter dropped to its lowest point since 1947, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that Virginia saw the second-highest increase in initial jobless claims in the nation last week.
The Department of Labor reported Thursday morning that 46,524 Virginians filed initial claims last week, which is a nearly 10,000 spike from the week prior. More than 37,000 Virginians filed initial jobless claims the week before last.
The Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday afternoon, however, that 42,966 Virginians filed initial claims last week. The DOL count is preliminary, while the VEC’s published number is the final count, according to the VEC. The discrepancy presents itself in cases in which people are employed in Virginia but live in different states, and can also occur when people have more than one job in more than one state, according to the VEC.
Nationwide, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the national GDP shrank by nearly 33% in the second quarter, the lowest point on record since 1947. Last week, initial jobless claims across the nation continued to climb while Congress continues to negotiate on a new COVID-19 stimulus package before federal supplemental unemployment benefits expire.
The $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act references a July 31 expiration date for unemployment benefits, but according to the U.S. Department of Labor, states can pay out federal unemployment benefits no later than the week ending one week before July 31.
“Barring action by Congress to extend the benefit, federal law mandates the end of the $600 supplemental benefit this week,” VEC spokesperson Joyce Fogg said last week. “If it is extended or modified, VEC will execute its responsibilities under the law.”
In Virginia, 344,826 people remained unemployed last week — a decrease of 12,272 from the previous week, but 324,629 higher than the 20,197 continued claims from the same week last year. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
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 July 25:
- Norfolk, 3,286
- Fairfax County, 2,996
- Virginia Beach, 2,959
- Richmond, 2,482
- Portsmouth, 1,933
- Chesapeake, 1,739
- Newport News, 1,462
- Prince William County, 1,452
- Chesterfield County, 1,359
- Henrico County, 1,281
- Hampton, 1,255
Nationwide, 1.434 million people filed initial claims for unemployment last week — a 12,000 increase from last week — bringing the total of unemployed Americans to nearly 55 million in the wake of the pandemic-related economic crisis, according to DOL statistics released Thursday.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11.6% for the week that ended July 18, an increase of 0.5% from the previous week.
For the week ending July 11, 46 states reported that nearly 12.4 million people are claiming federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides temporary benefits for people who are not eligible for regular or traditional unemployment insurance.
Forty-five states reported 940,113 people claiming 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. Last week, the VEC reported that it had received more than 28,000 PEUC applications.
States with the largest increases in initial claims for the week that ended July 18 were Louisiana, Virginia, California, Tennessee and Alabama, while the largest decreases were seen in Florida, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey and Washington.
The states and U.S. territories with the highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending July 11 were Puerto Rico, Nevada, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, Georgia, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands.
See below the most up-to-date unemployment insurance claims dashboard by the VEC. The dashboard is updated no later than the following Monday after the weekly claims press release.