Va. unemployment claims down slightly last week
JLARC says VEC still is responding only to "small portion" of calls
Virginia saw a small decrease in initial claims for the filing week ending July 3, with 6,825 people making new jobless claims, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday. Continued claims also went down, totaling 37,790 last week, down by 2,435 from the previous week.
Initial claims declined by 1,371 last week compared to the previous week, and the total was down 80% compared to the same week in 2020, VEC said. Continued claims on the same week last year were at 378,607, 90% higher than last week’s continued claims. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
According to a state official leading a review of the backlog of claims at VEC, which is under a Labor Day deadline set by a federal judge to resolve more than 90,000 outstanding cases, the agency is still responding to only a “small portion” of calls by claimants who haven’t received their benefits. Lauren Axselle is part of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission team conducting a study about the VEC, with an interim report due to state lawmakers in September and a final report in November.
More than half of the claimants who filed for benefits last week (and the prior four weeks) reported being in these industries: accommodations/food service; administrative and waste services; retail; and health care and social assistance.
The regions of the state that have been most impacted continue to be Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.
Nationwide, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims last week was 373,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. There were 1,391,178 initial claims during the same week last year.