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Weekly update: COVID-19 continues to impact Virginia labor situation

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(© vepar5 –

The number of initial unemployment claims filed during the most recent filing week was 60 percent lower than when pandemic employment impacts first began to be felt a year earlier.

Baby steps forward, right?

For the filing week ending March 20, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 17,560, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission released Thursday.

The latest claims figure was an increase of 2,035 claimants from the previous week. This brought the total number of claims filed since the March 21, 2020 filing week to 1,525,925, 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 58,233, which was a 2.9 percent decrease from the previous week, but 36,605 higher than the 21,628 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

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