As a new sign of the global economic impact of the epidemic, thousands of unemployed Washington residents have accumulated their 52nd week unemployment benefits and now need to be transformed for that help to come.
This gloomy anniversary marks the recent introduction of new, or “preliminary”, claims on unemployment benefits submitted to the State Department of State Security (ESD). Last week, the agency reported 17,281 preliminary claims, up 45.7% from the previous week. That sharp rise was followed by a more modest increase of 3.6% two weeks ago after a month of steady decline.
Washington’s rise countered a 25 percent drop in claims to 576,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
But most of the state’s growth was technical. “Many Washingtonians who applied for unemployment benefits during the first wave of redundancies last spring because of the epidemic have been receiving benefits for a year, and state regulations are required to reapply,” said ESD spokesman Nick Demeris.
“It simply came to our notice then [unemployment insurance] “Last year,” Demeris said. “I’ll imagine seeing some of them in the next few weeks.”
Demerice says the expiration of pre-existing claims is one of the reasons why the common claims, the new claims, have remained largely stable in recent weeks. That number has fluctuated from 435,675 to 426,803 since mid-March, up from 428,521 last week.
The new federal epidemic unemployment benefit requirements available to workers who do not normally receive state benefits, such as self-employed, overtime workers, have fallen sharply since mid-March, to 2,249 last week.
In another modest sign of economic recovery, the unemployment rate fell to 5.4% in March from 5.6% a month earlier, the ESD reported this week. The national unemployment rate was 6% in March.
Still, even if Washington does not see a sharp increase in demand from newly unemployed Washington residents, at the same time, the four-week average of new demand remains at levels similar to the Great Depression, the ESD said.
The growing need for unemployment benefits by many Washington’s also shows a slow recovery in some areas of work, such as health care and social assistance – manufacturing, both of which rose in demand last week.
Some employers continue to cut jobs amid concerns over the state’s COVID-19 count, which has recently risen even as the state immunization program expands rapidly, ESD officials said. As of Thursday, all 16 or more Washingtonians have the right to strike.
The state added 23,100 jobs in March, up from 33,200 in February, according to the ESD.
In March, Congress extended federal epidemic benefits through the American Rescue Act, which made benefits available until September 4.
Last week, ESD paid benefits for 300,117 individual claims, down 1.8% from the previous week. Because individuals can have multiple claims, the number of claims is often slightly more than the number of individual claimants.
As of March 2020, more than 1 million Washington residents have been paid more than $ 16.8 billion in unemployment benefits, about two-thirds of which comes from the federal government.
For comparison, the average annual ESD repayment for each of the previous 10 years was over $ 1 billion.