386K+ remain unemployed in Va. during pandemic
Approximately 46M Americans are still jobless
UPDATED 4 P.M. FRIDAY | More than 386,000 Virginians are still unemployed following the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, though the number of initial jobless claims across the commonwealth continues to decrease.
The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced Thursday that 849,486 initial unemployment claims have been filed since March 15. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was 9.4%, the VEC reported Friday. This is 6.6% greater than the rate from last May.
However, the VEC reports that private sector employment increased by more than 40,000 jobs, while there were nearly 21,000 fewer public sector jobs. Government employment saw the most significant job loss during the month of April.
About 27,000 Virginians filed initial claims for unemployment last week, down from roughly 29,000 the prior week, according to the VEC. The state’s weekly unemployment numbers have continued to decline since peaking in early April, when 147,369 Virginians filed initial jobless claims in a single week. Last week there were 2,045 fewer claimants.
However, 386,893 people remain unemployed in Virginia — 367,430 more than the same week last year, which saw only 19,463 continued claims. People receiving unemployment benefits through VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
“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,” VEC Economist Timothy Aylor said in a statement. “Continued claims during the June 13 filing week equaled 46% of all initial claims filed during the pandemic to this point. This percentage has trended downward in recent weeks.”
More than 1.5 million people in the United States filed initial claims for unemployment last week, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, bringing the total of unemployed Americans to approximately 46 million in the wake of the economic crisis.
Last week’s U.S. claims were down by 58,000. In the week ending May 30, 44 states reported that 9.28 million people are claiming federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides temporary benefits for people who are not eligible for regular or traditional unemployment insurance.
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 June 13:
- Fairfax County, 2,415
- Richmond, 1,284
- Virginia Beach, 1,235
- Prince William County, 1,218
- Norfolk, 1,082
- Newport News, 854
- Chesterfield County, 844
- Henrico County, 792
- Chesapeake, 770
- Loudoun County, 762
The largest year-over-year job loss occurred in the hospitality industry, which has lost more than 150,000 jobs, according to the VEC. The next largest job losses have happened in transportation and trade, education and health services and government.
Thirty-five states reported 1.07 million individuals claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides up to an additional 13 weeks of regular or traditional unemployment insurance benefits to those who have exhausted their eligibility.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 14.1% for the week that ended June 6, unchanged from the previous week.
The states with the highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending on May 30 were Nevada, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, California, Rhode Island, Louisiana and Massachusetts.
States with the largest increases in initial claims for the week that ended on June 6 were California, Massachusetts, New York and Maryland, while the largest decreases were seen in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Michigan and Maine.