<img class="aligncenter wp-image-51062 size-full" src="https:\/\/theenterprise.net\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/23\/2021\/03\/Unemployment-1.jpg" alt="" width="1080" height="636" \/>By Brandon Martin\r\n\r\nThe latest number of initial unemployment claims filed in Virginia were 60 percent lower than when pandemic employment impacts first began to be felt a year earlier in March 2020, according to the latest numbers from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC).\r\n\r\nFor the filing week ending March 20, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 17,560. The latest claims figure was an increase of 2,035 claimants from the previous week. This brought the total number of claims filed since the March 21, 2020 filing week to 1,525,925, compared to the 477,600 average filed during the previous three economic recessions since 1990.\r\n\r\nConversely to the rest of the Commonwealth, Henry and Patrick counties had a slight bump in initial claims filed during the week. Henry County finished the week with 46 initial claims compared to 38 claims in the week prior. Patrick County had 26 initial claims compared to 15 claims in the previous week. The City of Martinsville was the only locality of the three with a decrease in initial claims. The city had 75 initial claims filed in the week which was two less than were filed last week.\r\n\r\nStatewide, continued weeks claimed totaled 58,233, which was a 2.9 percent decrease from the previous week, but 36,605 higher than the 21,628 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 mainly of those recent initial claimants who continued to file for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.\r\n\r\nThe number of continued claims in Henry County dropped from 370 claims to 361 claims. Martinsville also had a decrease in continued claims, finishing the week with 186 claims compared to 194 claims last week. Patrick County was the only locality of the three to have an increase in continued claims. The county finished the week with 98 continued claims, increasing by two claims in the week ending March 13.\r\n\r\nNationwide, in the week ending March 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 684,000, a decrease of 97,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 11,000 from 770,000 to 781,000. The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 656,789 in the week ending March 20, a decrease of 100,412 (or -13.3 percent) from the previous week. There were 2,920,162 initial claims in the comparable week in 2020. Looking at preliminary data, most states reported decreases on a seasonally unadjusted basis. Illinois\u2019s preliminary weekly change (-56,347) was the largest decrease among states. Ohio\u2019s preliminary weekly change (-46,445) was the second largest decrease. California\u2019s preliminary weekly change (-13,464) was the third largest decrease. Florida\u2019s preliminary weekly change (-6,448) was the fourth largest decrease. Virginia\u2019s preliminary weekly change (+12,707) was the largest increase.