Number of initial jobless claims remained at 14K last week
Claims stay near Aug. 8 peak
The number of initial jobless claims filed last week stayed close to its Aug. 8 peak, with more than 14,000 Virginians filing new unemployment claims, according to Virginia Employment Commission data released Wednesday.
For the week ending Dec. 19, 14,640 Virginians filed initial claims for unemployment, an increase of 131 claimants from the previous week.
Last week, 67,478 Virginians remained unemployed — 48,041 higher than the 19,437 continued claims from the same period last year. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
“This drop indicated a resumption of its recent declining trend and was over 80% lower than its May 16 filing-week peak,” according to the VEC. “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.”
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 Dec. 19:
- Fairfax County, 986
- Virginia Beach, 841
- Norfolk, 724
- Prince William County, 664
- Richmond, 620
- Henrico County, 407
- Chesterfield County, 369
- Chesapeake, 368
- Loudoun County, 278
- Newport News, 272
On Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order to hold Virginia businesses harmless for any layoffs made during three months of the pandemic. It protects businesses from paying an additional $200 million in payroll taxes to replenish the VEC Unemployment Insurance Trust, which is predicted to have a record-setting $750 million deficit at the end of 2020. At the start of the year, the trust had $1.45 billion in its coffers. Currently, state unemployment payouts are being funded with federal dollars.
Nationwide, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for last week was 803,000, a decrease of 89,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. There were 287,243 initial claims during the same week last year.