By Brandon Martin
Unemployment claims for the week ending Feb. 20 remained consistent with the weeks before, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission.
Henry County matched the previous week in number of initial claims with 52.
Martinsville experienced a slight increase in initial claims, jumping from 38 to 43 during the week.
Patrick County had one fewer claim filed during the week, accounting for 17 compared to 18 claims the week prior.
The figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 11,944.
While still elevated compared to recent months’ trends, the latest claims figure was a decrease of 2,957 claimants from the previous week. Elevated levels in recent weeks may have, in part, reflected reapplications for benefits following the government’s renewal of supplemental benefits until March 14 as part of the latest stimulus package.
For continued claims, Henry County had an increase in 29 claims. The county finished with 400 total continued claims for the week.
Continued claims for Martinsville rose to 195 from 189 in the last filing week.
Patrick County saw an increase of two claims from the week prior, tallying 95 this week.
Statewide, continued claims totaled 64,575, which was a 3.1 percent increase from the previous week, and 42,082 higher than the 22,493 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 consists mainly of those recent initial claimants who continued to file for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationwide, in the week ending February 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 730,000, a decrease of 111,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised. The adjustment suggested it was down by 20,000, from 861,000 to 841,000.
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 710,313 in the week ending February 20, a decrease of 131,734 (or -15.6 percent) from the previous week. There were 199,278 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 (-50,130) was the largest decrease among states. Ohio’s preliminary weekly change (-46,259) was the second largest decrease. New York’s preliminary weekly change (-8,552) was the third largest decrease. Texas’s preliminary weekly change (-7,433) was the fourth largest decrease. Virginia’s preliminary weekly change (+406) was the tenth largest increase.