Idaho unemployment claims rise 3% over previous week

by Craig Shaul
| September 10, 2020 10:04 AM

New initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits totaled 3,804 for the week ending Sept. 5, increasing 3 percent — or 118 claims — from the previous week.

The four-week moving average increased by 4 percent to 3,732 new initial claims per week.

Continued claims — the number of people who requested a benefit payment – dropped by 10 percent from the previous week to 13,021, the 18th consecutive week of declines. The four-week moving average for continued claims also fell 10 percent — from 17,468 for the week ending Aug. 29 to 15,658 for the week ending Sept. 5.

Accommodation and food services represented 12 percent of total claims for the week ending Sept. 5. Health care and social assistance, administrative and support services, manufacturing and retail represented 11 percent each.

By age, 24 percent of claims filed were by people ages 25 to 34. Claimants ages 35 to 44 represented 21 percent, those ages 45 to 54 were 20 percent and young people under age 25 represented 14 percent. 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 Sep. 5 were two times higher than the same week last year, but 61 percent below the 2009 weekly average of 33,728.

The department paid out $41.9 million in claims during the week ending Sept. 5, up from $9.3 million for the week ending Aug. 29. The large increase during the week of Sept. 5 is because of initial payments of the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program which paid out $33.8 million. Regular state benefit payouts were $2.9 million, down from $3.4 million the previous week, but 3.5 times higher than the same week in 2019. Of the CARES Act programs, Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation payments (PEUC) paid out $2 million, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) paid out $2.6 million and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) paid out just $.6 million.

Total benefit payments to laid-off Idahoans attributed to COVID-19 reached $846 million. Regular state unemployment insurance benefits made up $192 million of the total, with PEUC benefits at $25 million, PUA benefits at $60 million and FPUC payments at $535.2 million and LWA benefits at $33.8 million.

Weekly claims by county and industry are available on Idaho’s claim data dashboard at https://lmi.idaho.gov/ui-weekly-claims