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Elk Grove Citizen

California Unemployment Insurance Claims Increase by 20 percent

Jul 01, 2020 12:00AM ● By California Center for Jobs and the Economy

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - After a relatively stable level in the prior 4 weeks, total California initial claims (regular UI plus PUA claims by the self-employed) jumped 20% for the week of June 20. As suggested in the separate WARN Act analyses, most layoffs continue to be temporary but an increasing percentage is now shifting to permanent, an indication that the recovery period will face additional difficulties in returning to previous job and employment levels.

Nationally, actual claims (not seasonally adjusted (NSA)) for regular UI were essentially level at 1,457,373, while the seasonally adjusted (SA) level used for trend analysis is being reported as a decrease at 1,480,000. Combined with PUA claims, the national NSA numbers eased 2%. California showed 287,354 initial UI claims (NSA) along with 86,130 initial PUA claims (NSA). As with last week’s employment and job numbers, the initial claims data is another indication that the economic downturn has been more severe in California and continues in many sectors, while the US on average appears to be in the initial stages of a recovery.

Combining both the regular UI and PUA initial claims, California had the highest number of initial claims among the states. Total initial claims for California for the week were 2.0% of the May labor force, moving up to the 8th highest among the states. To date, total initial claims of 6.6 million since the beginning of the state’s shutdown represent over a third of the labor force. This level, however, does not translate directly into the unemployment level. Not all claims are necessarily approved, filers may have secured employment after submitting their claim, and individuals may have filed more than one claim in this period.

Although not included in the table above, claims under the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program continues to show significant numbers. This new category allows an additional 13 weeks of coverage for persons who have exhausted their regular benefits, including eligibility for the additional $600 a week. California claims were at 296,831 or 35% of total claims nationally. Rather than newly unemployed persons, claim rates for this category are an indicator in the growth of long-term unemployment, a major problem during the shallow recovery from the 2008 Recession that had a depressing effect on wage and longer-term employment prospects for the affected workers.