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INITIAL CLAIMS DROP IN FEBRUARY, ACCORDING TO WASHINGTON STATE EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT

 OLYMPIA, Wash., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The number of Washington workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits fell to 43,521 in February, a decrease of 17,718 from the previous month, Employment Security Commissioner Vernon E. Stoner announced Thursday.
 "The drop was about what we usually experience between January and February," said Stoner. "It's important to remember that these numbers do not yet reflect expected layoffs at Boeing."
 Because the state monthly unemployment rate lags four to six weeks, initial claims are often a timely measure of potential improvement or trouble in the labor market. During February, 152,914 claimants received nearly $91 million in state and federal unemployment insurance benefits. Meanwhile, the department helped some 5,418 job seekers find work.
 Initial claims for benefits by former military and federal civilian employees totaled 1,400 in February, a decrease of 432 people from the previous month. The department paid out a total of $5,430,270 in benefits to 6,430 former federal employees during the month.
 "It's important to note that initial claims also reflect the seasonality of our economy," said Dennis Fusco, chief economist for the department. "In this case, improvements in construction due to warmer weather and the return of education workers following the Christmas break contributed to the decline. We can look for further improvement with the advent of Spring."
 Under the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, 11,377 persons filed initial claims after exhausting their regular jobless benefits. This compares to 12,980 in January. There was a total 33,395 EUC beneficiaries receiving $21,891,911 in February. Additionally, 347 dislocated timber area workers received $264,842 in benefits as part of the state's Timber Retraining Benefits Program.
 This calendar year, the department has paid more than $185 million in benefits to 313,671 claimants in all programs. Additionally, the department has helped place 10,618 in jobs.
 -0- 3/25/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Wilson, 206-753-5216, or Dennis Fusco, 206-438-4820, both of the Washington State Employment Security Department/


CO: Washington State Employment Security Department ST: Washington IN: SU: ECO

SW-LM -- SE012 -- 9818 03/25/93 17:22 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 25, 1993
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