ODU’s Center for Economic Analysis and Policy Says Virginia’s Labor Market Shows Signs of Improvement

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Data shows that 14,203 Virginians filed initial unemployment claims; continuous drop in claims to 65,091

FILE – In this file photo from February 6, 2021, a woman walks past a “Now Hiring” sign displayed on a One Price Cleaners CD in Schaumburg, Illinois. A glaring sign of the economic inequality that marked the pandemic recession and recovery, Americans as a whole are now earning the same amount of wages and salaries as before the pandemic, even with nearly 9 million fewer people at work. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh, file)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Old Dominion’s Drags Center said Virginia’s job market is improving as data from the Virginia Employment Commission shows 14,203 Virginians filed for unemployment for the week of February 6, a decrease of 3,974 from the previous week. .

Statistics show that the state’s continuing claims declined from 2,246 to 65,091.

For the fifth week in a row, initial requests in the Commonwealth are down from the week before, ODU said.

“In the past four weeks, initial claims have fallen by 50%. Continuing claims have declined in the past week after five straight weeks of increases. The more than 14,000 initial claims filed last week are higher than all initial claims filed in February 2019, while the initial claims filed in January 2021 remain above the worst month of the Great Recession, ”said Dominique Johnson, associate researcher at the Dragas Center. .

For the week ending February 6, data showed that approximately 1.1 million Americans first filed for unemployment either through a regular public program or through the Case Assistance Program. pandemic of unemployment (PUA).

Research also showed that about 20.4 million Americans received some form of unemployment assistance for the week of January 23, an increase of 2.6 million from the previous week and about 18.3 million more than the same week in 2019.

“While initial jobless claims edged down last week, the level of claims remains well above previous historic weeks. We now have 47 consecutive weeks of initial claims that surpassed the previous record seen during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, ”said Robert McNab, director of the Dragas Center.

The ODU says the increase in continued claims across all programs is troubling. More than 20 million Americans received some form of unemployment insurance in the last available week.

While the state’s regular and ongoing claims declined, those declines were more than offset by the increase in PUA and PEUC claims, the economics team said.

The Dragas Center said we need to anticipate the expiration of emergency programs in the spring to see if Americans face the prospect of yet another cut in unemployment benefits.

As vaccinations increase across the county and infections decline, ODU expects rapid gains in labor markets in the second half of 2021.

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