For Release:
May 7, 2020
Timothy Aylor
Senior Economist
Economic Information & Analytics Division
(804) 786-3976

Virginia’s Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims for Week Ending May 2nd

~ Seasonally unadjusted weekly initial unemployment insurance claims dropped to their lowest number since March during the latest filing week ~

RICHMOND— In figures released today, the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced that the effects of the pandemic continue to impact the number of initial and continued claims for unemployment insurance.

For the filing week ending May 2, the figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims in Virginia was 59,631. The latest claims figure was a decrease of 12,857 claimants from the previous week. Though the 17.7% decline indicates that the volume of initial claims has retreated from its recent peak, it may not return to pre-pandemic levels for some time.  

For the most recent filing week, continued weeks claimed totaled 376,689 up over 10% from the previous week and 358,211 higher than the 18,478 continued claims from the comparable week last year. The continued claims total mainly comprised those recent initial claimants who continued to file for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. That total is more than ten percent of March private sector payroll employment in the Commonwealth.

According to preliminary figures from the May 2 filing week, the following were the ten counties and independent cities with the largest numbers of initial claims: Fairfax (+7,029), Prince William (+3,541), Virginia Beach (+3,093), Loudoun (+2,399), Richmond City (+2,290), Chesterfield (+2,185), Henrico (+2,163), Norfolk (+1,874), and Chesapeake (+1,693). Most areas reported declining numbers of claims compared to the previous week. Fairfax reported the largest over-the-week decrease (-2,097) while Buena Vista, Accomack, Rockbridge, and Martinsville were among those reporting increases.


For additional information on who is claiming unemployment insurance in Virginia, access the VEC’s    U.I. claims data dashboard ( that is updated no later than the following Monday after the weekly claims press release.

Nationwide, the number of seasonally adjusted initial claims totaled 3,169,000, a decrease of 677,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 7,000 from 3,839,000 to 3,846,000. The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 2,849,090 in the week ending May 2, a decrease of 646,613 (or -18.5 percent) from the previous week. In addition, in the 23 states reporting data for the week ending May 2, there were 583,699 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Most states showed decreases in the most recent week while seven reported weekly increases. Looking at advance-issue, seasonally unadjusted numbers, increases in initial claims for the week ending May 2 were in Maryland (+27,337), Oklahoma (+15,737), New Jersey (+15,574), Maine (+8,514), New Mexico (+4,708), Puerto Rico (+4,387), and Connecticut (+3,125). Virginia’s weekly change was the 17th largest decline among states.