Washington state's employment picture is getting close to pre-pandemic levels.

New numbers show first-time jobless claims are down 86 percent from the same time last year when the economy was suffering COVID-19 losses.

Meanwhile, the 4 week rolling average for claims is at its level since the pandemic began.

The state says a drop in layoffs for education and construction workers is helping to bring down jobless claims.

The current 4-week moving average for initial claims is at 6,615, compared to the pre-pandemic moving average of 6,071 initial claims. It's the fifth consecutive week initial claims have reached a new pandemic low.

In the week ending July 10, the Washington Employment Security Department paid out over $198 million for 253,888 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March 2020, the department has paid more than $19.8 billion in benefits to over 1.1 million Washingtonians.

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