Clark County saw a drop in the number of people filing unemployment claims last week, continuing a trend of gradual economic recovery.
Initial unemployment insurance claims increased from 818 to 867 last week, an increase of 6 percent, but continued claims dropped by 3 percent, from 17,588 to 17,064 claims.
Most of the initial claims came from the educational services industry, which may be a result of Evergreen Public Schools announcing it was furloughing some employees, said Scott Bailey, regional economist for Southwest Washington. All other industries reported a drop in initial claims, he said.
“That may be the tip of that iceberg,” he said.
While continued claims decreased overall, the extended-benefit claims increased, signaling that long-term unemployment slightly increased. All the continued claims came across the board in all industries, Bailey said.
“This continued a trend we’ve been seeing for a couple of months for a drop in the number of people getting unemployment benefits,” he said. “That presumably means they’re going back to work. That continues to be good news. The other side is, there is still a lot of people filing claims.”
Bailey said that the total government payouts for Clark County substantially decreased from the month of August. In July, Clark County received $113 million, and in July, the county received $36 million. That included the $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which ended last month.
The county is gearing up for having $300 weekly federal benefits, but it will be another two weeks before applicants receive that money. The payout is estimated to be five weeks of benefits total, he said.
The decrease in federal money was “largely for folks who need it the most,” Bailey said. “That has a lot of ramifications for people needing to make rent or house payments.”
The state as a whole last week was down by 1.4 percent for all unemployment benefit categories, according to the Washington Employment Security Department.