Initial claims for unemployment benefits from Northern Virginia residents increased for the third consecutive week last week to the highest level since late May, just as the region was entering the first phase of reopening after coronavirus restrictions.
The Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday that 7,846 first-time claims were filed from Northern Virginia in the week ending July 25, up 11.7% from the prior week and nearly 50% above the June 20 level. It was the most claims filed since the week ending May 30, when 8,034 were filed.
Since pandemic-related business shutdowns began in mid-March, the VEC has now received over 281,000 unemployment claims from Northern Virginia. By comparison, it received only 400 from the region in the week before the pandemic.
Separately, however, the number of prior first-time claimants who continue to be unemployed fell for the second consecutive week, by about 4,000 to 96,681. That's the lowest level for that number since late April and means about 64% of all prior claimants are no longer filing claims.
Unemployment Claims by Locality
|LOCALITY||Week ending July 25||Total since March 15||Continuing Claims|
Statewide, 42,966 claims were filed last week, up 13.2% from the prior week and the highest number since the week ending May 16, which was the last week before parts of the state other than Northern Virginia entered Phase One of reopening. A total of 1.05 million unemployment claims have now been filed statewide since mid-March.
Virginia's weekly increase, when not adjusted for seasonality, was the largest in the country. WalletHub said Virginia ranks 47th among states in terms of how unemployment claims have recovered since the pandemic began. Only Georgia, Florida, New Hampshire and Oklahoma rank worse.
Continuing claims also fell statewide last week, however, by about 13,000 to 344,826, the lowest level since the week ending April 25. However, last year at this time the number of continuing claims for unemployment benefits statewide was only about 20,000.
Nationwide, in the week ending July 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1.43 million, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week's revised level.