The number of weekly unemployment claims filed in Prince William County fell for the sixth straight week, and the number of continued claims filed in the county is beginning to level off, according to the latest report from the Virginia Employment Commission. 

VEC’s latest report shows that 2,601 unemployment claims were filed in the county between Sunday, May 10, and Saturday, May 16.

That’s about 500 fewer claims filed than the previous week. The number of continued claims rose from 23,355 to 23,897 for the week ending May 16. 

Continued claims refer to unemployed people who have already filed a claim and who are continuing to receive weekly benefits.

Prince William’s unemployment numbers mirror the statewide unemployment trend showing that weekly claims reached their peak in April and have steadily fallen over the previous six weeks. For the week ending May 9, there were 44,699 unemployment claims filed in Virginia, a decrease of 7,440 claims from the previous week.

Continued unemployment claims in Virginia totaled 403,557 for the week ending May 16. That’s about 9% of Virginia’s total workforce, which numbers 4.4 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

All Virginia localities except for the Northern Virginia region, Accomack County and Richmond City began Phase One of reopening on May 15, easing restrictions on non-essential businesses including retail, hair salons and restaurants, while keeping entertainment venues and gyms closed. 

Gov. Ralph Northam announced a delayed Phase One reopening for Northern Virginia at the request of local leaders and health directors in Prince William, Fairfax, Loudoun, Alexandria and Arlington. Health district directors in the five localities said they had not met the criteria for reopening outlined in Northam’s “Forward Virginia” reopening plan. 

Northern Virginia’s population makes up about one-third of Virginia’s population but account for about 50% of all COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Northern Virginia will likely begin reopening on May 29, unless the order is extended.

May 14: After April peak, new unemployment claims filed in Prince William continue to fall

The number of weekly unemployment claims filed in Prince William County is gradually declining after peaking in early April.

The number of claims filed in the county has fallen for five straight weeks, according to the latest report from the Virginia Employment Commission. 

VEC’s latest report shows that 3,098 unemployment claims were filed in the county between Sunday, May 3, and Saturday, May 9. That’s about 500 fewer claims filed than the previous week – and 6,000 fewer claims filed than week ending April 4.

While weekly unemployment claims are on the decline, the number of continued claims is still rising. Continued claims refer to unemployed people who have already filed a claim and who are continuing to receive weekly benefits.

For the week ending Saturday, May 9, there were 23,355 continued unemployment claims in Prince William, an increase of about 1,500 over the previous week. 

Prince William’s unemployment numbers mirror the statewide unemployment trend showing that weekly claims reached their peak in April and have steadily fallen over the previous five weeks. For the week ending May 9, there were 52,139 unemployment claims filed in Virginia, a decrease of 7,492 claims from the previous week.

Continued unemployment claims in Virginia totaled 392,673 for the week ending May 9. That’s about 9% of Virginia’s total workforce, which numbers 4.4 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

“The accommodation and food service sector, which includes hotels and restaurants, continued to see the greatest percentage of initial claims for unemployment benefits,” VEC Economist Timothy Aylor said in a Thursday press release.

Those numbers, Aylor said, reflect the “impacts of public health and safety measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Virginia is set to begin phase one of reopening on Friday, which will ease restrictions on non-essential businesses including retail, hair salons and restaurants, while keeping entertainment venues and gyms closed.

The exception is Northern Virginia, where Northam announced a delayed phase one reopening because the region had not yet met Centers of Disease Control and Prevention criteria for reopening. In Northern Virginia, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing at a faster pace than the rest of the state. 

Northern Virginia will likely begin reopening on Friday, May 29, unless the order is extended. 

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