Va. initial jobless claims dropped 46% last week
U.S. first-time claims fall below 1 million for first time since pandemic began
Initial unemployment claims in Virginia fell by 46% last week, according to a Thursday release from the Virginia Employment Commission.
More than 13,000 Virginians filed initial jobless claims last week — a decrease of more than 10,000 claims from the previous week, according to a VEC statement released Thursday.
For the first time since the pandemic began, the number of initial claims filed in the U.S. dropped below 1 million. According to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) statistics released Thursday, 963,000 Americans filed initial claims. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance ended during the week of July 25, and Congress has yet to take action to extend it. The program provides temporary benefits for people who are not eligible for regular or traditional unemployment insurance.
“This week’s unemployment claims report shows a marked improvement in the number of Americans filing an initial claim for unemployment benefits,” Robert McNab, director of Old Dominion University’s Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy, said in a statement. “The downward trend in initial and continued claims is welcome news, but we remain well above levels seen in previous recessions. While progress has been made, Hispanic and African American workers have borne a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 infections and unemployment. The challenge remains creating a broad-based recovery that benefits all Americans.”
In Virginia, 264,410 people remained unemployed last week — a decrease of 66,991 from the previous week, but 244,425 higher than the 19,985 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.
“Virginia’s labor market has now shown two weeks of continued improvement, with sharp declines in initial and continued unemployment claims,” Dominique Johnson, research associate at the Dragas Center, said in a statement. “The number of Virginians receiving unemployment benefits declined by more than 68,000 from the previous week, the largest decrease since the crisis began in mid-March. If these increases are sustained in the coming weeks, Virginia’s recovery will be well under way.”
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 Aug. 8:
- Fairfax County, 1,108
- Virginia Beach, 617
- Richmond, 563
- Prince William County, 478
- Norfolk, 461
- Henrico County, 379
- Chesterfield County, 355
- Newport News, 324
- Loudoun County, 304
- Chesapeake, 281