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Initial unemployment claims decreased in Washington state in last week of April

Though the number of initial unemployment claims was lower than the spike seen in the previous week, claims remain at record numbers in Washington state.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — There were 100,762 initial claims for unemployment benefits and 1,086,031 total claims filed in Washington state between April 26 and May 2.

That is a decrease of 36,842 (26.8%) initial claims over the previous week.

The Employment Security Department (EDS) paid out more than $639 million to 504,139 people, a decrease of $347 million paid out to 134 fewer people.

Still, the EDS said the number of claims remains at record levels.

RELATED: Refusing to work could put your unemployment benefits at risk

“Since the COVID-19 crisis began in early March, Employment Security has sent $2.14 billion into the pockets of more than half a million Washingtonians,” said Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “This makes an enormous difference to those individuals and their families, and we are humbled to be able to provide these services in such a critical time. That said, there are approximately 57,000 who are waiting because there are issues with their claims we are working to resolve. 

"Getting those Washingtonians their benefits is our agency’s top priority. We are doubling down on activities already underway to reach our goal of getting all of those claims in adjudication resolved or paid by June 15. We will be posting more information and details on our progress on our website in the coming days.”

RELATED: 33 million applied for US unemployment aid since coronavirus hit

The number of initial claims spiked in the latter half of March, jumping from 6,548 by March 7 to 181,975 by March 28. The last week of March saw a 3513% increase in initial unemployment claims over the same week in 2019, according to the Employment Security Department.

Approximately 1.4 million initial claims have been filed during the coronavirus pandemic, with a total of 810,538 individuals filing for benefits. Of those, 545,178 individuals who have filed claims have received payment. Nearly $2.14 billion has been paid out so far.

VIEW: Coronavirus coverage in Washington state