New jobless claims increased last week in Va.
76K Virginians report being unemployed in week ending March 6
Initial unemployment claims increased across the state last week, while continued claims dropped slightly, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.
For the filing week ending March 6, 13,736 people filed new claims for unemployment insurance, up from 12,155 the previous week. Meanwhile, 62,269 people filed continued claims, marking a 2.7% decrease from the previous week but still far higher than the same week in 2020, which saw 22,714 continued claims. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
“For the second consecutive week, initial claims for unemployment benefits increased in Virginia,” said Dominique Johnson, a research associate at Old Dominion University’s Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy, in a statement. “More than 10,000 weekly claims has almost become the norm. But when compared to the same week last year, two weeks before the COVID-19 spike in unemployment, initial claims were less than 2,600. While down considerably from the peak of nearly 150,000 claims filed in the first week of April 2020, a return to pre-pandemic levels will take some time.”
Robert McNab, director of the Dragas Center, said that while initial and continued claims “remain well above those observed in previous recessions, we are likely at an economic inflection point in the recovery from the pandemic.”
More than half of the claimants who filed for benefits last week (and the prior four weeks) reported being in the accommodation/food service, administrative and waste services, retail trade and health care and social assistance industries, according to the VEC.
The regions of the state that have been most impacted continue to be Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.
Below are the top 10 localities, listed by number of initial unemployment claims, for the week ending March 6:
- Norfolk, 630
- Richmond, 583
- Virginia Beach, 562
- Fairfax County, 543
- Alexandria, 440
- Prince William County, 372
- Newport News, 319
- Chesterfield County, 299
- Chesapeake, 294
- Henrico County, 281
Nationwide, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims last week was 712,000, a decrease of 42,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. There were 200,382 initial claims during the same week last year.