Local unemployment rates rose in the first report of the new year, according to data released by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) for the filing week ending Jan. 2.
For the week, Henry County’s initial unemployment claims rose to 101, which was an increase of 63 from the previous week’s 38 claims.
The City of Martinsville experienced a dramatic increase, from 53 new claims compared to only five the week before.
Patrick County also followed that trend, with an increase of 10 claims, for a total of 28 initial claims during the week.
Data from the VEC showed the number of initial claims filed during the January 2 filing week was the highest since early August.
The figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 19,530. The latest claims total represented an increase of 7,640 claimants from the previous week, which could in part reflect seasonal spikes in layoffs often seen after the holidays.
The number of continued claims also rose during the week.
Henry County had 483 continued claims for the week ending Jan. 2, for an increase of 35 claims.
Martinsville and Patrick County also had increases in continued claims, but to smaller degrees. The number of claims in the city increased by nine claims, for a total of 104 in the week.
Patrick County’s increase of 14 claims gave the county 94 in total.
Statewide, continued weeks claimed totaled 63,588, which was a 0.2 percent increase from the previous week, but 41,417 higher than the 22,171 continued claims from the comparable week last year. More than half of claims were in the accommodation/food service, health care, administrative and waste services, and retail trade 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 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 787,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 3,000 from 787,000 to 790,000. The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 922,072 in the week ending January 2, an increase of 77,400 (or 9.2 percent) from the previous week. There were 335,480 initial claims in the comparable week in 2020. Looking at preliminary data, most states reported increases on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Colorado’s preliminary weekly change (+18,777) was the largest increase among states. Kansas’s preliminary weekly change (+15,863) was the second largest increase. Louisiana’s preliminary weekly change (+14,226) was the third largest increase. Virginia’s preliminary weekly change (+13,280) was the fourth largest increase. Illinois reported a weekly decrease of 62,765 claimants.