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Idaho’s initial unemployment claims increase

| August 27, 2020 4:00 PM

New initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits totaled 3,794 for the week ending Aug. 22, increasing 4 percent – or 150 claims – from the previous week.

The four-week moving average decreased by 6 percent to 3,574 new initial claims per week.

Continued claims – the number of people who requested a benefit payment – dropped by 13 percent from the previous week to 16,414, the 16th consecutive week of declines. The four-week moving average for continued claims fell 11 percent – from 22,712 for the week ending Aug. 15 to 20,205 for the week ending Aug. 22.

Manufacturing represented 13 percent of all claims for the week ending Aug. 22, and health care and social assistance 12 percent. Administrative and support services, as well as accommodation and food services each represented 11 percent, and retail accounted for 10 percent. These five sectors accounted for 58 percent of the Aug. 22 weekly total.

By age, 25 percent of claims filed were by people ages 25 to 34. Young people under age 25 represented 16 percent, followed by ages 35 to 44 at 22 percent and workers ages 45 to 54 at 17 percent. By gender, the claims filed were evenly split between women and men.

Laid-off Idaho workers filed four times more claims than during the same week in 2019 and 4 percent more than the 3,655 average weekly claims filed during the height of the Great Recession in 2009. Continued claims for the week ending Aug. 22 were three times higher than the same week last year, but about half as many as the 2009 weekly average of 33,728.

The department paid out $14.1 million in claims during the week ending Aug. 22, up from $11.9 million for the week ending Aug. 15. Regular state benefit payouts were $4.1 million, down from $4.2 million the previous week, but 4.2 times higher than the same week in 2019. Of the CARES Act programs, Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation payments (PEUC) were $1.8 million, with payouts for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) at $3.2 million and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) at $5 million.

Total benefit payments to laid-off Idahoans attributed to COVID-19 reached $793 million. Regular state unemployment insurance benefits made up $186 million of the total, with PEUC benefits at $20 million, PUA benefits at $55 million and FPUC payments at $532 million.