Initial unemployment insurance claims filed in Clark County dropped to 1,293 last week, a decrease of 32 percent from the previous week’s 1,911.
“It blipped up last week and now it’s blipped back down,” said Scott Bailey, the state’s regional labor economist for Southwest Washington.
The decrease brought the county’s weekly claims count back to the spot where it hovered for about eight weeks before spiking two weeks ago.
The unemployment claims data helps track how many workers have freshly lost jobs, as opposed to the unemployment rate, which measures how many people are seeking work.
Initial claims reached their lowest point during the pandemic five weeks ago, when 1,215 claims were filed.
The most recent data showed that 722 of the individuals who filed an initial claim last week had also filed an initial claim at some other point this year. Bailey said that there could be a few reasons why, including a second layoff, or the claimants had a second job that ended last week.
The most recent Clark County data also shows fewer continuing unemployment claims, about 22,000 in total.
“It’s a sizable number that’s slowly trending downward,” Bailey said, falling by about 2,000 in the last month.
State numbers fall
Statewide, there were 29,438 initial regular unemployment claims filed last week. That’s down 27.3 percent from the prior week, according to the Employment Security Department. The state had 630,092 continued claims, down 2.6 percent.
“This past week, for the first time since the pandemic began, all initial claim types as well as continued and ongoing weekly claims decreased,” Employment Security Commissioner Suzi LeVine said in a news release Thursday.
“We are making excellent progress on our efforts to resolve the claims for those who have been waiting the longest, having reduced that backlog by nearly 75 percent.”