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Big increase in new unemployment claims in Virginia in the past week

virginia politics
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The Virginia Employment Commission likes to dress up its weekly report on new unemployment claims with a fun fact.

This week’s fun fact: the number of initial claims filed during the most recent filing week were 75 percent lower than in the comparable week in 2020 when pandemic employment impacts first began to be felt.

OK, that’s something.

Here’s something else: for the filing week ending March 27, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 28,244, an increase of 10,684 claimants from the previous week.

That’s a lot of new claims.

You can see why they want to bury the lede.

The new number brought the total number of claims filed since the March 27, 2020 filing week to 1,554,169, compared to the 477,600 average filed during the previous three economic recessions since 1990.

For the most recent filing week, continued weeks claimed totaled 57,072, which was a 2.0 percent decrease from the previous week, but 15,245 higher than the 41,827 continued claims from the comparable week last year.

Over half of claims that had a self-reported industry were in the accommodation/food service, administrative and waste services, retail trade, and healthcare/social assistance industries.

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.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press