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Virginia’s unemployment insurance claims have dropped to the lowest they’ve been since March, the Virginia Employment Commission reported last week. And with some Virginia businesses getting ready to reopen as the state approaches May 15, those numbers could drop further. But the VEC cautioned it would be a long road until the number of claims return to pre-pandemic levels. 

The VEC provides unemployment insurance benefits for those who’re unable to work due to things outside of their control, including the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For the week of May 2, Virginia’s claims were at just under 60,000, a drop of more than 17% from the previous week. The VEC said the decline suggests the state is retreating from the initial peak of claims filed following business closures from the coronavirus pandemic. 

At nearly 378,000, the total number of claims filed in the state since the start of the pandemic is unprecedented.

“This total is larger than 10% of the entire March payroll of employees in the commonwealth,” the VEC said in a release. 

These are the counties with largest amounts of unemployment claims, with Fairfax having nearly double the number of claims that the next highest county. 

  • Fairfax- 7,029
  • Prince William- 3,541
  • Virginia Beach- 3,093
  • Loudoun- 2,399
  • Richmond City- 2,290
  • Chesterfield- 2,185
  • Henrico- 2,163
  • Norfolk- 1,874
  • Chesapeake- 1,693

If you’re totally or partially unemployed and wish to apply for benefits, you can call VEC customer contact at 1-866-832-2363 or apply online