For Release:
April 2, 2020
Timothy Aylor
Senior Economist
Economic Information & Analytics Division
(804) 786-3976

Virginia’s Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims

~ Seasonally unadjusted weekly initial unemployment insurance claims more than doubled from the previous filing week ~

RICHMOND—The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced that weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance more than doubled after sharply rising the previous week according to figures released today.

For the filing week ending March 28, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims was 112,497. This is an increase of 66,220 claimants from 46,277 for the week ending March 21, continuing mid-March’s trend of historically large weekly increases.

Initial claims measure emerging unemployment and the continued increase in initial claims in the Commonwealth is clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus. A number of counties and cities continued to cite COVID-19 related layoffs, with many areas reporting increased layoffs in service related industries broadly and in the accommodation and food services industries in particular. However, there are indications that layoffs are broadening to affect a wider range of industries.

Continued weeks claimed measure the number of persons claiming unemployment benefits and are beginning to reflect the current influx of initial claim filings submitted to the VEC. Continued weeks claimed were 41,827, nearly doubling the number from last week and twice the number of continued claims from the comparable week last year.

The numbers of initial claims filed during the week ending March 28 was 110,397 higher than the comparable 2019 week—over a 5,000% increase. 


Nationwide, seasonally adjusted initial claims during this period were 6,648,000, an increase of 3,341,000 from the previous week's revised level. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims. States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services; however, state comments indicated a wider impact across industries. Many states continued to cite the health care and social assistance, and manufacturing industries, while an increasing number of states identified the retail and wholesale trade and construction industries.

Looking at seasonally unadjusted data, the advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 5,823,917 in the week ending March 28, an increase of 2,903,757 (or 99.4 percent) from the previous week.