A monthlong decline in initial unemployment claims continued into early August as both Washington state and Kitsap County have now recorded at least three consecutive weeks of falling claim numbers.
During the week ending Aug. 8, the most recent week for which data is available, Kitsap had just 518 initial unemployment claims filed. That’s still four times higher than the pre-pandemic low of 128 claims recorded during the week ending Feb. 29, but is now well off the historic highs seen in late March and early April.
Washington state had 571,410 total claims, which include those for initial unemployment (UI), pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA), pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (PEUC) initial claims, and continuing and ongoing weekly claims. That number is down 13 percent from the prior week. There were 22,140 initial regular employment claims, down 11.4 percent from the previous week.
King, Pierce and Spokane counties all saw large drops in initial claims, as did Yakima County.
Overall, initial claims applications are still 307 percent above the same week in 2019.
Since the week ending March 7, the Employment Security Department has paid out over $9.5 billion in benefits. A total of 2,338,445 initial claims have been filed and 1,295,080 distinct individuals have filed for some sort of unemployment benefits.
The industries experiencing the highest number of claims during the week ending Aug. 8 were manufacturing (2,866 claims, up 42 percent); accommodation and food services (2,235 claims, down 22 percent); health care and social assistance (1,922 claims, down 19 percent); retail trade (1,759 claims, down 14 percent); and construction (1,751 claims, down 12 percent).