First-time claims for unemployment benefits from Northern Virginia residents topped 21,000 in the week ending April 25, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.
Although that number was down about 4,200 from the prior week, it brought the total number of unemployment claims in the region to over 168,000 since business closures and layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic began in mid-March. That compares with just 404 claims regionwide during the week ending March 14.
Initial Unemployment Claims in Northern Virginia localities
Statewide, 72,488 Virginians filed first-time claims for benefits last week. That was down by about 10,200, or 12.4%, from the prior week, but brought total first-time claims to 565,979 over the past six weeks.
For the most recent filing week, continued weeks claimed statewide totaled 341,295, up nearly 15% from the previous week and 322,665 higher than the 18,630 continued claims from the comparable week last year. The continued claims total mainly comprised recent initial claimants who continued to file for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, the VEC said. The total is more than 10% of private-sector payroll employment in the state.
Although the young and female workers were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 layoffs in late March, the demographic composition of unemployment claimants has broadened to increasingly impact those in other groups, the VEC said. In Virginia, older workers, male workers, and those in other minority groups grew slightly as a share of filings according to the most recent published data.
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Nationwide, the number of seasonally adjusted initial claims last week totaled 3,839,000, a decrease of 603,000 from the previous week's revised level. Over 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment claims in the past six weeks, or more than 18% of the country's labor force.