New unemployment claims in Washington fell last week, and the state’s unemployment rate fell, even as the entire nation saw an increase in the number of people seeking unemployment benefits.
Washington filed 12,958 new or “preliminary” lawsuits last week, down 7.7 percent from the previous week, the State Employment Safety Board (ESD) said Thursday.
At the national level, the demand for new unemployed increased by 1.2% to 745,000, according to the US Department of Labor.
Washington’s unemployment rate fell to 6% in January from 7.1% in December, the ESD reported this week. The US unemployment rate was 6.3% in January, up from 6.7% in December.
Still, the number of new lawsuits filed in Washington in the same week last year more than doubled as epidemic-related business restrictions continued to drive higher-than-normal reductions.
Among the state’s business districts that saw the largest number of new lawsuits last week were construction, retail, housing and food services, health care and social assistance.
The total number of weekly or ongoing lawsuits filed in Washington last week was down 0.4% from the previous week to 440,927.
Last week, ESD paid benefits for 315,399 individual claims, which was almost unchanged from the previous week. Because individuals can have multiple lawsuits, the number of lawsuits is often slightly more than the number of individual claimants.
Since March 2020, more than 1 million Washingtonians have been paid more than $ 15.3 billion in unemployment benefits, about two-thirds of which comes from the federal government.