By Brandon Martin
The level of unemployment claims in Virginia during the coronavirus pandemic more than doubled the unemployment claims of the 2007 recession and eclipsed the number of claims for the last three recessions combined, according to data released by the Virginia Employment Commission.
The number of total initial unemployment claims at the year-mark of the pandemic was 1,508,365 claims compared to 664,972 claims in 2007. The 2001 recession hit 326,190 claims and there were 441,817 claims in 1990.
For the most recent filing week ending March 13, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 15,525. The latest claims figure was an increase of 1,789 claimants from the previous week. This brought the total number of claims filed since the March 21, 2020 filing week to 1,508,365.
The number of initial claims in Henry County was 38 which was a drop of 12 claims from the previous week. Martinsville had 77 claims during the week compared to 45 in the prior week. Patrick County had a drop of three initial claims with a final tally of 15 new claims.
For the most recent filing week, continued weeks claimed totaled 59,976 in Virginia, which was a 3.7 percent decrease from the previous week, but 38,640 higher than the 21,336 continued claims from the comparable week last year. Over half of claims that had a self-reported industry were in the accommodation/food service, administrative and waste services, retail trade, and healthcare/social assistance industries. The continued claims total consists of those recent initial claimants who continued to file for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Henry County had 370 continued claims during the week which was an increase of 10 claims. Martinsville experienced a decrease in continued claims at 194 claims compared to 210 the previous week. The number of continued claims was roughly the same in Patrick County at 96 claims compared to 97 claims last week.
Nationwide, in the week ending March 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 770,000, an increase of 45,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 13,000 from 712,000 to 725,000. The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 746,496 in the week ending March 13, an increase of 24,318 (or 3.4 percent) from the previous week. There were 251,416 initial claims in the comparable week in 2020. Looking at preliminary data, most states reported decreases on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Ohio’s preliminary weekly change (-14,700) was the largest decrease among states. West Virginia’s preliminary weekly change (-3,602) was the second largest decrease. Georgia’s preliminary weekly change (-3,035) was the third largest decrease. South Carolina’s preliminary weekly change (-2,728) was the fourth largest decrease. Virginia’s preliminary weekly change (+10,103) was the third largest increase.