California unemployment claims climb as country continues to recover

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California is struggling to recover from new unemployment claims, with last week’s claims higher than at the start of 2020, according to WalletHub’s updated study, “States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest,” which can be accessed online at https://wallethub.com.

According to the report, weekly unemployment claims in California increased by 7.12% compared to the same week in 2019 with an increase of 23.71% when compared to the start of 2020. The increase was the third biggest in the United States, Wallethub said.

“California’s unemployment claims have experienced the 8th slowest recovery in the U.S. For the week of June 27, California had 45,425 new unemployment claims, 96% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst, said.

In a bit of good news, Weekly unemployment claims decreased by 22.81% statewide compared to the same week last year.

Gonzalez said that the national unemployment rate falling to its lowest level since the pre-pandemic level of 3.5% to 3.6% in June, it shows that the decreasing COVID-19 cases brought on a high number of new jobs and new workers, which are both signs that the pandemic’s hold on the economy may also be decreasing.

“U.S. employers added over 390,000 jobs in May, continuing the streak of strong job growth we’ve been seeing for months,” Gonzalez said. “Job growth, in combination with less mask and vaccine mandates nationwide, should spur even more economic recovery.”

Gonzalez said the fact that there are more job openings than there are unemployed Americans shows that unemployment “is really no longer an issue” since the country has recovered from much of the “fallout of the pandemic.”

According to Gonzalez, a potential recession would negatively affect unemployment “significantly.”

“Losing a job is never good, but when you combine it with such high inflation it can really become disastrous,” she said. “Even Americans with jobs right now are struggling to afford essentials like food and gas. If those numbers continue to climb while more people become unemployed, we might see an economy in deep recession.”

Kim Harris can be reached by email at valleyeditor@reedermedia.com