Idaho’s Weekly Unemployment Initial Claims Increase 12 Percent from Previous Week


For Immediate Release: Aug. 20, 2020
Media Contact: Craig Shaul, or Salvador Vazquez,

New initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits totaled 3,644 for the week ending Aug. 15, increasing 12 percent – or 394 claims – from the previous week.

The four-week moving average decreased by 12 percent to 3,801 new initial claims per week – the fourth consecutive week of declines.

Continued claims – the number of people who requested a benefit payment – dropped by 7 percent from the previous week to 18,772, the 15th consecutive week of declines. The four-week moving average for continued claims fell 9 percent – from 24,925 for the week ending Aug. 8 to 22,712 for the week ending Aug. 15.

Health care and social assistance represented 13 percent of total initial claims filed. Manufacturing represented 12 percent and retail 11 percent. Construction, administrative and support services, as well as accommodation and food services each represented 10 percent. These six sectors accounted for 67 percent of the Aug. 15 weekly total.

By age, 25 percent of claims filed were by people ages 25 to 34. Young people under age 25 represented 18 percent, followed by ages 35 to 44 at 21 percent and workers ages 45 to 54 at 16 percent. By gender, the claims filed were evenly split between women and men.

Laid-off Idaho workers filed four times more claims than during the same week in 2019 and nearly the identical level as the 3,655 average claims filed each week during the height of the Great Recession in 2009. Continued claims for the week ending Aug. 15 were three times higher than the same week last year, but 44 percent below the 2009 weekly average of 33,728.

The department paid out $11.9 million in claims during the week ending Aug. 15, down from $14.7 million for the week ending Aug. 8. The drop was due to the end of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which had paid an additional $600 per week in benefits. Regular state benefit payouts were $4.2 million, down from $4.9 million the previous week, but 4.1 times higher than the same week in 2019. Of the CARES Act programs, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation payments (PEUC) were $1.7 million, with payouts for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) at $2.8 million and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) at just $3.2 million.

Total benefit payments to laid-off Idahoans attributed to COVID-19 have reached $779 million. Regular state unemployment insurance benefits make up $182 million of the total, with PEUC benefits at $19 million, PUA benefits at $51 million and FPUC payments at $527 million.

Weekly claims by county and industry are available on Idaho’s claim data dashboard at

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