Recapping last week: UI, state response

By: Emily Makings
9:21 am
May 4, 2020

Initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) increased to 496,718 in last week’s report (covering the week of April 19–25). This was the first week in which people who are not typically eligible for UI (like independent contractors) were able to apply for benefits, pursuant to federal COVID-19 relief bills. But initial UI claims under the regular state program increased too. Continuing claims were 959,190—more than double the number in the week before. Total claims reached 1,455,908.

Private sector claims since March 1 are 23.4 percent of February employment. The arts, entertainment, and recreation sector has been hardest hit as a share of February employment, but the highest number of initial claims since March 1 have come in the accommodation and food services sector. Kriss has charts here.

The state has been distributing the $200 million the Legislature appropriated in March for COVID-19 response. There is $31 million left. Meanwhile, the state government will receive $2.167 billion from the CARES Act (one of the federal aid bills) for COVID-19 response. Gov. Inslee announced last week that the state will give $300 million of that to local governments.

There’s still no word on whether or when Congress will provide additional relief for state and local governments. The Washington Post reported last week that House Democrats are thinking about $1 trillion, which could be used to address revenue shortfalls (something the CARES Act doesn’t allow). We’ll see.

Previous recaps:

Categories: Economy.
Tags: COVID-19 , COVID-19 & the economy