Va. sees 67% drop in weekly jobless claims
Decline comes after 171% increase reported previous week
The state’s number of initial unemployment claims continues to fluctuate wildly, with only 12,231 Virginians submitting new jobless claims for the week ending May 1, a drop of 25,125 claims from the previous week, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.
For the April 26-May 1 filing week, the state saw a 67.2% decline in new claims, after a 171.6% week-over-week increase reported for the April 19-24 filing week. A year ago, 59,631 Virginians filed initial claims, 79.4% higher than last week.
Continued claims remained much steadier, with 55,195 filed last week, an increase of 914 from the previous week. A year ago, however, 376,689 people filed continued claims, 85.3% higher than last week. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
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.
Meanwhile, the VEC received a brief extension this week to respond to a federal class-action lawsuit filed in February by Virginians complaining of long delays in processing unemployment claims. Although the agency asked for three weeks of extra time, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson granted only four days. Also, some state legislators have said they wish to see a study on VEC’s delays by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission expedited, saying the matter deserves more urgency than a November report.
Below are the top 10 localities, listed by number of initial unemployment claims, for the week ending May 1:
- Fairfax County, 731
- Prince William County, 532
- Norfolk, 514
- Richmond, 508
- Virginia Beach, 491
- Newport News, 316
- Alexandria, 310
- Loudoun County, 302
- Chesapeake, 295
- Henrico County, 275
Nationwide, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims last week was 498,000, a decrease of 92,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. There were 2,793,245 initial claims during the same week last year.