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Unemployment Claims Steady in Virginia

Virginia Employment Commission

Thursday the Virginia Employment Commission released its weekly unemployment numbers, showing that unemployment figures were steady in recent weeks.

Health officials confirmed Virginia’s first case of the Coronavirus a year ago this Sunday. The pandemic caused unprecedented unemployment within a month. At the peak of the crisis in May 2020 around 400,000 people applied for continued unemployment benefits. The young, women and people of color were disproportionately impacted by job loss.


12,155 applied for new unemployment benefits, according to the data released Thursday. 63,998 filed continuing claims, which represented a 0.9% decrease from the previous week. The same time last year, similar claims numbered 22,203. Hospitality workers made up a large share of the jobless, as well as those working in the retail, healthcare, and social assistance industries.

In the past year unemployment claimants faced immense difficulty communicating with the employment commission, either to get their initial claims, or contest overpayment penalties. Legislation forgiving some unemployment overpayments passed through the General Assembly. It’s awaiting Governor Northam’s signature.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.
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