Unemployment claims still falling in Washington state

Daniel Fowler
October 31, 2020

For the week ending Saturday, Washington state received 14,198 new, or "initial", claims for regular unemployment benefits, a 15.9% drop from the prior week, the state Employment Security Department reported Thursday. On an unadjusted basis, the figure decreased by a little more than 28,000.

State Extended Benefits will expire October 31 because of a decrease in the state's unemployment rate. More than 360,000 people filed for PUA benefits, which Congress created to help gig workers, the self-employed, and others not eligible for typical unemployment.

Economists called for 770,000 initial claims and 7.78 million continuing claims, according to the median estimates in Bloomberg surveys. Nonetheless, a renewed surge in coronavirus infections across the country and a deadlock over new fiscal stimulus threaten to limit further progress. The report also showed Hawaii had been hardest hit since September 2019, suffering the largest unemployment rate increases since then, rising by more than 12 percentage points.

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The number of Washingtonians filing new unemployment claims fell again last week amid mixed signals over the pace of economic recovery from the pandemic. That figure rose by more than 387,000 to 3.68 million in the week ended October 10. But even with the outsize gain, gross domestic product is still below its pre-pandemic peak.

After months of complaints from people who have struggled to file unemployment claims, Georgia officials announced Thursday that they would begin scheduling troubleshooting appointments online.

Last week, 266,208 continued unemployment claims were filed, down 8,952 from the 275,160 ongoing claims filed the week of October 11-17. They also come even as OH has registered record numbers of new coronavirus cases. The state also reported fewer claims in the most recent week. Claims jumped in Michigan, Virginia and IL.

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