Washington state 'doing well,' ranked 32nd for increased unemployment claims

(The Center Square) – As measured by increases in unemployment claims due to COVID-19, Washington state ranks 32nd in the nation.

That’s according to a report from personal finance website WalletHub, which looked at the unemployment claims of all 50 states and the District of Columbia at several key weeks.

“Washington is doing well, ranking in the bottom 20 in terms of the increase in unemployment claims in the past week, with just about 15% more claims compared to pre-pandemic levels,” Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst, said of the Thursday report in an email to The Center Square. “Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Washington has recorded an increase in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims of just over 28%, which is among the lowest ten states in the country.”

According to the state Employment Security Department’s (ESD) December 2021 initial and continuing unemployment insurance claims report, for the four-week moving average ending Jan. 1 compared to the previous four-week moving average, regular initial claims increased by 1,826 to a total of 7,490. Regular continued claims increased by 3,713 to a total of 49,848.

“The increase in initial claims is typical for the agriculture and construction industries during this week in pre-pandemic times,” the ESD report states. “And total initial claim volumes are still below pre-pandemic levels, indicating ongoing improvements in the overall labor market.”

Washington fared better in WalletHub’s ratings than its southern neighbor, 14th-ranked Oregon, but not quite as well as Idaho, its eastern neighbor, at the No. 36 spot.

Nationwide, there were 230,000 new unemployment claims, Wallet Hub pointed out, a drop in the bucket compared to the 6.1 million claims during the peak of the pandemic.

Even with the increase in weekly claims nationally, 49 states had unemployment claims last week that were better than they were during the same week at this time in 2021, WalletHub found.

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