WINCHESTER — New jobless claims across the region mostly declined throughout August, data from the Virginia Employment Commission shows.
According to the VEC, 11,135 initial (new) jobless claims were filed for the week ending Sept. 5 across the state.
For the most recent filing week, continued claims totaled 217,485 in Virginia, which was a 6.8% decrease from the previous week, but 200,069 higher than the 17,416 continued claims from the comparable week last year. They also declined by 46.1% from their May 16 peak of 403,557 claims. The continued claims total is mainly comprised of those who continue to file for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regionally, Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren counties along with the city of Winchester have seen a decrease in new claims from Aug. 1 to Sept. 5.
Clarke County led the way with the lowest totals, with 17 initial claims for the week ending Aug. 1, followed by nine, eight, 13, five and three the subsequent weeks.
Frederick County had 81, 57, 45, 54, 52 and 44 claims over the same time period; Shenandoah County 58, 36, 46, 54, 35 and 38; Warren County 68, 43, 62, 30, 34 and 27; and Winchester 56, 34, 37, 40, 33 and 26.
State and local unemployment rates also are trending downward.
Virginia’s unemployment rate for July was 8%, down from 8.2% in June. The state’s jobless rate in July 2019 was 4%. Comparatively, the national local unemployment rate sits at 10.5%.
The VEC’s most recent data show the region’s jobless rates are:
Clarke County: 5.7% in July; 6% in June; 2.5% in July 2019.
Frederick County: 5.8% in July; 6.5% in June; 2.6% in July 2019.
Shenandoah County: 6.1% in July; 6.9% in June; 2.5% in July 2019.
Warren County: 7.1% in July; 7.6% in June; 2.9% in July 2019.
Winchester City: 7.5% in July; 8.1% in June; 2.9% in July 2019.
Highland County recorded Virginia’s lowest unemployment rate in July at 4.2%, while Petersburg had the highest at 19.1%. Clarke County ranked the lowest in the region at 10th, followed by Frederick County at 14th, Shenandoah County at 23rd, Warren County at 54th and Winchester at 66th.