Slight dip in initial jobless claims; weekly bonus expires

By The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — As a $600 weekly bonus to those seeking unemployment benefits in Washington expired, the state saw a slight dip in new weekly claims, which remained at high levels as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the state’s economic recovery.

More than 1.2 million people have filed claims for unemployment since early March when the pandemic job losses began, and more than 966,000 people who filed initial claims have been paid.

To date, the state has paid more than $8.7 billion in benefits, two thirds of which is federal money that is 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 is technically set to expire today, but the cutoff was effectively last Saturday owing to how states process payments.

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.

The number of new claims for unemployment benefits in Washington last week — 28,840 — was down 1.7 percent from the previous week.

More than 677,000 claims for benefits — with some of that number reflecting people who filed multiple claims — were filed for the week of July 19-25, up 0.6 percent from the previous week. More than $574 million was paid for 4442,219 individual claims last week.

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