Weekly initial unemployment insurance claims in Clark County fell by 37 percent last week.
“Even though the claims numbers have dropped, most new claims coming in are much higher than usual,” said Scott Bailey, regional economist for Southwest Washington. “The rate of layoffs is slowing, but it’s still extensive.”
Continued unemployment claims in Clark County fell by 2 percent last week, from 21,934 to 21,495. Bailey said that these continued claims should be a better indicator of the county’s economic health moving forward.
And as the county awaits Phase 2 for reopening, which allows restricted in-restaurant dining, continued unemployment claims are likely to continue to fall off, he said.
“As we get into June, we should start to see impacts from reopening,” he said. “We’ll be tracking that by industry.”
The state as a whole had a 35.5 percent drop in initial unemployment claims for the week ending May 30, and it’s partly because the state has cracked down on tens of thousands of fraudulent claims.
“The dramatic decline in initial claims this week is a strong signal that the additional steps we are taking to address imposter fraud are working,” Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine said in a news release.
In the state, 1,152,516 people have filed for unemployment benefits, and 826,123 have been paid, according to the news release. That leaves roughly 28 percent of people who filed who have not received any unemployment insurance money.
“We know every day matters for people awaiting their benefits,” said LeVine. “We are committed to processing those claims as quickly as possible.”
So far the state has paid out over $4.9 billion in unemployment benefits.