New unemployment claims in Washington state increased 7.9% last week to 5,193, up from 4,814 the prior week, according to data on the Employment Security Department’s website.
Nationally, new initial unemployment claims decreased 10.9% to 293,000 last week, down from 329,000 the prior week, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Still, Washington claims are significantly below what they were for this week in 2019, before the pandemic, when unemployment claims totaled 6,336.
Over 1.2 million people from Washington have collected more than $21.4 billion in unemployment benefits since March 2020. The federal government has provided about three-quarters of those funds. The tally compares to $1 billion the ESD has annually paid out, on average, in each of the previous 10 years, according to the department.