Va. unemployment claims continue to decline
New claims fell to 8,090 during last week of May
Virginia’s number of new and continued unemployment claims dropped again last week, with 8,090 initial claims filed during the week ending May 29, a decrease of 1,753 claims from the previous week, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.
Continued claims totaled 52,228 last week, down 1,935 claims from the previous week. This time a year ago, during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, 31,379 people filed new unemployment claims, 74% more than last week, while 398,411 people filed continued claims, 87% more than last week. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
On Tuesday, the VEC started requiring unemployment benefit recipients to apply for at least two jobs a week and report details of job search activity, a requirement that was waived during the height of 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 May 29:
- Norfolk, 381
- Fairfax County, 344
- Richmond, 343
- Virginia Beach, 257
- Prince William County, 222
- Newport News, 203
- Portsmouth, 181
- Alexandria, 168
- Chesapeake, 164
- Chesterfield County, 156
Nationwide, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims last week was 385,000, a decrease of 320,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the lowest number of initial claims since March 14, 2020, the week before the COVID pandemic prompted mass layoffs. There were 1,611,720 initial claims during the same week last year.