After 11 straight weeks of decline, first-time claims for unemployment benefits from Northern Virginia residents increased last week, indicating continued weakness in the region's job market even as coronavirus restrictions are eased.
The Virginia Employment Commission reported that 6,140 Northern Virginians filed unemployment claims in the week ending June 27, up 16.3% from the prior week and the highest since the week ending June 6. Weekly unemployment claims from the region following pandemic-related business shutdowns hit a peak of 47,708 on April 4 and had been slowly declining since, until last week.
A total of 255,082 Northern Virginians have now filed claims for unemployment since the pandemic began. The VEC reported Wednesday that the region's unemployment rate in May fell to 8.6% in May, down from 10% in April. The unemployment rate is calculated using a household survey.
Statewide, first-time claims last week also rose, by an even higher percentage, 26.3%, to 31,955. That was the most claims filed since the week ending May 23. Virginia's statewide increase was the fourth largest in the country, the VEC said.
Continuing claims, which unemployed residents must file every week they remain unemployed, fell again last week in Northern Virginia by about 3,000, to 104,891. That means that about 144,000 first-time claimants since the pandemic began have gone back to work or stopped filing claims, which represents about 57% of all first-time claimaints. Those numbers have been improving since early June.
Statewide, continued weeks claimed totaled 366,714, down 8,865 from the previous week, but 346,917 higher than the 19,797 continued claims from the comparable week last year.
Northern Virginia unemployment claims by locality
|LOCALITY||Week ending June 27||Total Since 3/15||Continuing Claims|
Nationally in the week ending June 27, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1.43 million, down about 55,000 from the previous week's revised level.
The U.S. Department of Labor also reported Thursday that the national unemployment rate for June fell to 11.1% as 4.8 million jobs were added back into the economy. That was the second straight monthly decline after the rate hit a peak of 14.7% in April. However, the June rate was calculated based on surveys conducted before states like Florida, Texas and California began reinstating restrictions on businesses due to surges in COVID-19 cases.