California unemployment claims jump again

California workers filed more initial claims for unemployment last week than they did the week before, raising questions about whether the state’s job market has begun to heal in a sustained way from COVID-linked ailments.

During the week that ended on July 31, California workers filed 65,500 claims for jobless benefits, which was up 1,000 from the week ending on July 24, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

California last week produced one-fifth of all the jobless claims filed in the United States, fresh evidence that the state has convalesced more slowly than the U.S. from the side-effects of government-ordered shutdowns to combat the coronavirus.

Nationwide, workers filed 385,000 initial claims for unemployment last week, down 14,000 from the first-time claims the week before, the Labor Department reported. These numbers were adjusted to account for seasonal volatility.

The unemployment claims filed in California represent the highest weekly number posted since the state reopened its economy in mid-June.

Economists had predicted that reopening of the economy would enable the statewide job market to gain traction and banish the maladies unleashed by the COVID-triggered lockdowns.

Instead, jobless claims in California have risen to their highest level since June 12, which was just a few days before the state reopenings occurred. An estimated 68,000 initial unemployment claims were filed during that week.

Even worse, when using comparable numbers that weren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, California has accounted for a rising share of the jobless claims nationwide.

The unemployment claims filed in California last week represented 20.2% of all the claims nationwide, according to this news organization’s analysis of the jobless filings — even though the state has only 11.8% of the workers in the United States.

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