augusta free press news

Another 52K file for unemployment in Virginia over the past week

Virginia covid-19
(© Ingo Menhard –

Initial claims for unemployment now exceed 16 percent of pre-lockdown employment in Virginia, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission.

For the filing week ending May 9, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 52,139, a decrease of 7,492 claimants, 12.6 percent, from the previous week’s total of initial claims.

For the most recent filing week, continued weeks claimed totaled 392,673, up over 4 percent from the previous week and 374,869 higher than the 17,804 continued claims from the comparable week last year.

The continued claims total is mainly comprised of those recent initial claimants who continued to file for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thus far, about two-thirds of workers who filed for initial claims during the pandemic continued to file during the May 9 filing week.

According to preliminary figures from the May 9 filing week, the accommodation and food service sector, which includes hotels and restaurants, continued to see the greatest percentage of initial claims for unemployment benefits (19 percent of those reporting).

That percentage has declined since March 21, when about 45 percent of initial claims filed were in those industries, suggesting that the bulk of the damage in that sector may be done.

Many initial claims also came from workers in retail trade (15 percent of those reporting) and health care and social assistance (13 percent of those reporting) during the week of May 9.