Initial weekly unemployment insurance claims in Clark County last week dropped 19 percent, from 1,147 to 924, dipping below the 1,000 weekly mark for the first since March 14.
It’s a sign of improvement in the local job market. But Scott Bailey, the state’s regional labor economist for Southwest Washington, said that in July 2019, the county had just less than 2,500 continued unemployment claims per week. Last week, the county had 19,032 – more than six times the number.
“It’s good to see a steady downhill trend,” said Bailey. “But we’re still in a world of hurt.”
Bailey said that the continued unemployment insurance claims were down last week in every sector except education services, which had 26 additional claims, from 658 to 684. On the other hand, accommodations and food services were down 14 percent, or 304 claims, from 2,188 to 1,884.
“Statewide, half of the initial claimants had filed in previous weeks,” Bailey said. “Roughly half of those initials were people who were already in the system and had some spell of work and are back getting benefits.
“This is a continuation of the trend we’ve seen for almost three months now of fewer initials claims coming in and more importantly fewer continued claims,” he said.
Statewide, initial unemployment insurance claims were down 11 percent, from 24,985 to 22,140. Continued regular unemployment claims in the state were down about 13 percent, dropping from 620,263 to 538,429 last week.
The Washington Employment Security Department paid more than $273.8 million to 391,025 individual claims last week, according to a Thursday news release. It was a $301.3 million decrease compared with the prior week, and 53,583 fewer individuals filed claims.