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Initial jobless claims fall slightly in last week of January

Unemployment claims were up in the final week of January, but initial claims were down in the latest numbers released by the Employment Security Department.

In the week ending Jan. 30, there were a total of 16,102 initial unemployment claims, down 2.2 percent from the prior week, while claims for all unemployment benefits rose 1.6 percent to 489,741 claims.

In Kitsap County, the number of initial claims increased slightly from 406 to 447.

There was a decrease in layoffs, especially in the accommodation and food services industry, which drove the decline in new regular initial claims, but there was a rise in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims.

Initial claims applications are still highly elevated at 147 percent above the same week in 2020. King County recorded a 6 percent decrease, and Spokane and Pierce Counties were down 4 and 3 percent, respectively, while Snohomish rose .3 percent, and Clark County was up 3 percent.

The industry sectors with the highest number of initial regular claims were construction (2,394 claims, down 5 percent); accommodation and food services (1,595 claims, down 12 percent); retail trade (1,583 claims, up 5 percent); health care and social assistance (1,339 claims, up 1 percent); and administrative and support and waste management and remediation services (1,131 claims, up 8 percent).

The occupations with the most initial claims were construction and extraction (2,543 claims, up 3 percent); management (1,736 claims, down 5 percent); food preparation and serving (1,614 claims, down 11 percent); office and administrative support (1,339 claims, down 3 percent); and transportation and material moving (1,318 claims, up 2 percent).

Over $268 million was paid out to 314,546 individual claims in the week ending Jan. 30. The total benefits paid to Washington residents since the pandemic began is $14.3 billion.

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