Unemployment claims in California rose last week and remain well above normal levels, the government reported on Thursday, with fresh evidence of statewide jobs recovery from illnesses linked to the coronavirus elusive.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported that California workers filed 67,200 initial claims for unemployment during the week ending Aug. 21, an increase of 2,500 from the week ended Aug. 14.
The claims filed last week represented the highest number of filings for a week in more than two months, topping only the 68,000 claims that were filed during the week ending June 12, according to this news organization. Shows an analysis of filings by the Department of Labor and the Department of State Employment Development.
Nationwide, workers filed 353,000 initial claims for unemployment last week, up 4,000 from a week earlier, the Labor Department reported.
Unemployed filings are on the rise, just days before the $300 weekly additional benefit being paid by the federal government ends on September 4.
Many California workers may choose to continue to file for unemployment because their pay at a hypothetical new job — after deducting expenses such as babysitting costs and gasoline for travel trips — is their regular state unemployment benefit plus an additional $300 federal. The complement may be equal to . This is a theory that some economists have advanced to explain the rising number of unemployed in California.
What is certain, however, is that the current level of unemployment in California is much higher than would be expected in the general economy.
During January 2020 and February 2020, the last two months before government agencies ordered an array of coronavirus-linked business shutdowns, unemployment claims averaged 44,800 a week in California.
The latest weekly total of 67,200 jobless claims is 50% higher than the average number of unemployment filings before the lockdown began in mid-March 2020.
Overall, California’s job recovery lags badly in the country, shows this news organization’s analysis of state and federal government reports.
California has recovered 58.3% of the jobs it lost between March 2020 and April 2020, when the state’s economy was devastated by the start of business closures. In stark contrast, the United States has regained about 75% of its lost jobs.