California unemployment claims jump, stay elevated

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California’s battered job market has yet to fully heal from its coronavirus-induced afflictions, as sketched out by a federal report released Thursday that shows unemployment claims remain abnormally high.

Workers in California filed 67,200 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the week that ended on Oct. 9, an increase of 3,200 from the 64,000 claims they filed in the week ending on Oct. 2, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

Even worse, unemployment claims in California last week remained at a far higher level than normal for a statewide economy that was healthy before being hobbled by business shutdowns that government officials imposed to combat the coronavirus.

In January 2020 and February 2020, the final two months before state and local government agencies ordered the lockdowns to curb the spread of the deadly bug, unemployment claims averaged 44,800 a week in California.

The 67,200 jobless claims that were filed in California last week are a whopping 50% higher than the average for early 2020.

Nationwide, workers filed 293,000 first-time unemployment claims last week, a decrease of 36,000 from the 329,000 claims that were filed in the United States the prior week, the Labor Department reported.

The most recent report for unemployment claims in California raises questions about why the statewide job market is taking so long to recuperate from its coronavirus-spawned ailments.

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