OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington state saw a decrease in both new weekly and total claims for unemployment benefits.
Nearly 1.3 million people have filed claims for unemployment since early March when the pandemic job losses began, and more than 996,000 people who filed initial claims have been paid. To date, the state has paid more than $9.5 billion in benefits, including federal money that, until last month, was providing the unemployed with an additional $600 a week on top of the state's weekly maximum benefit of up to $790 per week.
That $600 weekly bonus expired at the end of July and Congress has not been able to reach agreement on an extension, with the Democratic U.S. House wanting to continue the weekly boost at the same amount and the Republican Senate proposing to scale back the extra aid. President Trump last weekend issued an executive order that extends additional unemployment payments of $400 a week, with states expected to chip in a quarter of the cost, to help cushion the economic fallout of the pandemic. Officials in many states, including Washington, have said they are awaiting additional federal guidance on how to implement the order.
The number of new claims for unemployment benefits in Washington last week - 222,140 - was down 11.4% from the previous week.
More than 571,000 claims for benefits - with some of that number reflecting people who filed multiple claims - were filed for the week of Aug. 2-8, down 13% from the previous week. More than $273 million was paid for 391,025 individual claims last week, a decrease of $301.3 million and 53,583 fewer people from the prior week.