WINCHESTER — Monthly averages for initial employment claims for all five localities in the Northern Shenandoah Valley were higher in August than they were in July, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.
In July, no locality in the region averaged more than 20 initial, or new, claims. In August, all but Clarke County averaged more than 25.
Winchester averaged 57 initial jobless claims per week in August, up from an average of 20 in July. The city recorded 53 initial claims for the week of Aug. 7, 89 for the week of Aug. 14, 48 for the week of Aug. 21 and 38 for the week of Aug. 28
Frederick County averaged 30 initial claims in August, up from an average of 18 the previous month. For the filing weeks in August, the county reported 25, 32, 25 and 37 initial claims, respectively.
Warren County averaged 27 initial claims in August, up from an average of 18 in July. For the August filing weeks, the county reported 22, 35, 25 and 24 initial claims, respectively.
Shenandoah County averaged 26 initial claims in August, up from an average of 16 in July. The county recorded 24, 42, 18 and 19 initial claims, respectively, for the August filing weeks.
Clarke County averaged six initial claims in August, up from an average of three in July. For the August filing weeks, the county reported four, seven, seven and five initial claims, respectively.
Even with a slight increase, August marked the fourth consecutive month that localities in the region each posted fewer than 100 initial jobless claims in any given week. Clarke County hasn’t had more than 100 initial claims in a single week since April 2020, while Warren County hasn’t had more than 100 claims in a week since May 2020.
The statewide figure for seasonally unadjusted initial claims for the week ending Aug. 28 was 7,777, a decrease of 4,146 claimants from the previous week. This brings the total number of claims filed since March 21, 2020, to 1,798,879, compared to the 477,600 average filed during the previous three economic recessions since 1990.
For the most recent filing week, continued claims totaled 46,471 statewide, which is an increase of 9,396 claims from the previous week but 80% lower than the 233,467 continued claims from the comparable week last year.
The continued claims are mainly comprised of claimants who continue to file for unemployment insurance benefits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fourteen localities in Virginia had more than 100 initial claims for the week ending Aug. 28, with Norfolk being the highest at 354 initial claims, according to the VEC.
The bump in initial claims comes after two months of decreases in area unemployment rates. The jobless rate was down across the region in July.
Frederick County’s unemployment rate was the lowest in the region at 2.9%, a 0.5% decrease. Frederick County ranked third in Virginia for the lowest unemployment rate, based on VEC data.
Clarke County followed with a jobless rate of 3.1% (down 0.4%), followed by Winchester at 3.4% (down 0.5%), Shenandoah County at 3.5% (down 0.5%) and Warren County at 3.6% (down 0.4%).
Virginia’s unemployment rate in July was of 4.1%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7%. Both are decreases.