Initial unemployment claims drop for most, but continued claims remain high

During the week ending Jan. 23, local initial unemployment claims decreased from the week before, but continued claims increased, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC).

For Henry County, the number of initial claims decreased by 22 which gave the county 80 total initial claims during the week.

The City of Martinsville also saw a decrease of four claims, leaving the locality with 63 initial claims.

Patrick County had the biggest decrease of the three localities, dropping from 55 initial claims to 31.

While the initial claims decreased, each locality gained more continued claims during the week. Henry County had an increase of 53 continued claims for a total of 488 claims.

Martinsville tallied 179 continued claims for the week which was an increase of 38 claims from last week.

Patrick County had the smallest increase of continued claims, leveling off at 87 for an increase of 13 claims from the week before.

The VEC suggested the number of initial claims during the filing week remained elevated across the state when compared to recent months’ levels.

For the week, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 18,312. While still elevated compared to recent months’ trends, the latest claims figure was a decrease of 2,761 claimants from the previous week. Elevated levels in recent weeks may have, in part, reflected seasonal spikes in layoffs often seen after the holidays, as well as reapplications for benefits following the government’s renewal of supplemental benefits until March 14 as part of the latest stimulus package.

Continued weeks claimed totaled 67,298, which was a 5.4 percent increase from the previous week, but 45,637 higher than the 21,661 continued claims from the comparable week last year. Over half of claims that had a self-reported industry were in the accommodation/food service, administrative and waste services, retail trade, and healthcare/social assistance industries. 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.

Nationwide, in the week ending January 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 847,000, a decrease of 67,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 14,000 from 900,000 to 914,000. The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 873,966 in the week ending January 23, a decrease of 101,498 (or -10.4 percent) from the previous week. There were 229,002 initial claims in the comparable week in 2020. Looking at preliminary data, most states reported decreases on a seasonally unadjusted basis. California’s preliminary weekly change (-63,943) was the largest decrease among states. Georgia’s preliminary weekly change (-9,255) was the second largest decrease. Texas’s preliminary weekly change (-8,189) was the third largest decrease. Pennsylvania’s preliminary weekly change (-7,868) was the fourth largest decrease. Virginia’s preliminary weekly change (+526) was the eighth largest increase.

more recommended stories