Latest initial unemployment claims drop to lowest levels since March

Data from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) suggested the number of initial claims filed from mid-March through the Sept. 26 filing week totaled 1,167,032, or 28.4 percent, of pre-pandemic payroll employment.

For the most recent filing week, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 9,377. The latest claims figure was a decrease of 1,205 claimants from the previous week and continued the overall trend of lower claims volumes seen in recent months following April’s peak.

Continued weeks claimed totaled 173,717, which was a 7.7 percent decrease from the previous week, but 156,577 higher than the 17,140 continued claims from the comparable week last year. They have declined at a consistent pace since mid-August—around 6.8 percent a week. The continued claims total consists mainly of those recent initial claimants who continued to file for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nationwide, during the filing week, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 837,000, a decrease of 36,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 3,000 from 870,000 to 873,000. The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 786,942 in the week ending Sept. 26, a decrease of 40,263 (or -4.9 percent) from the previous week. There were 172,968 initial claims in the comparable week in 2019. Looking at preliminary data, most states reported decreases on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Florida’s preliminary weekly change (-9,668) was the largest decrease among states. Others included Texas (-8,353), Georgia (-6,349), New York (-3,222), and Oregon (-2,762). Virginia’s preliminary weekly change (+681) was the seventh largest increase.

In addition to the filing week, VEC also released unemployment numbers for the month of August.

Henry County’s unemployment rate continued to drop in August reaching 7.4 percent. In July, 9.5 percent of the workforce was unemployed. Last year, the rate was 3.4 percent. Patrick County’s unemployment rate slightly decreased to 6.4 percent from 7.1 percent in July. In the previous year, the county’s 7,239 civilian workforce only experienced an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent.

The unemployment rate in the City of Martinsville was 11.6 percent in the month of August. This was 675 people from the city’s 5,828 total civilian workforce. The rate was a decrease from the previous month’s 14.7 percent. In August 2019, the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent.

Approximately 275,000 Virginians were unemployed during the month, accounting for 6.3 percent of the Commonwealth’s 4.3 million civilian workforce. The rate fell 1.7 percent from last month’s 8 percent but failed to reach last August’s unemployment rate of 2.9 percent.

In August, the unemployment rate for the United States dropped to below 10 percent with approximately 13 million Americans without work. This is a decrease of about $3 million since July but it’s more than double last August’s 6.2 million, with only 3.8 percent of the population unemployed.





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