UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES IMPROVING

More than 375,000 Virginians are still unemployed following the economic fallout from the shutdowns that were ordered by Governor Northam in response to COVID-19. Now though, a little good news… The number of initial jobless claims across the commonwealth continues to decrease. The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced Thursday that 874,779 people have filed initial unemployment claims since March 15. However, the total of initial claims for the week ending June 20 was the lowest since before the initial spike in unemployment insurance claims during the March 21 filing week. More than 25,000 Virginians filed initial claims, a decrease of nearly 1,900 from the week prior. However, 375,579 people remain unemployed in Virginia — 355,910 more than the same week last year, which saw only 19,669 continued claims. The VEC reminds Virginians that those who are called back to work must generally return and that, under law, an employer is not required to keep a position open for an employee who refuses to go back to work. If a claimant received an overpayment of benefits, they’ll be required to pay it back. Employers can report employees who refuse to return to work through the VEC website. U.S. claims were down by 60,000 from last week. For the week ending June 6, 46 states reported that more than 11 million people are claiming federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides temporary benefits for people who are not eligible for regular or traditional unemployment insurance. The regions of the state that have been most impacted continue to be Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.