California unemployment claims jump

California workers filed more initial claims for unemployment last week compared to the week before, a dreary indicator that the state continues to struggle to recover from coronavirus-linked maladies.

Workers statewide filed 61,464 first-time jobless claims during the week that ended on Nov. 13, an increase of 6,431 from the week ending Nov. 6, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

The increase in claims in California ended three consecutive weeks of decreases.

Nationwide, workers filed 268,000 initial jobless claims last week, a decrease of 1,000 from the week before, the Labor Department reported. These numbers are adjusted for seasonal volatility.

California’s unemployment claims  remain greatly elevated from the weekly filings typical for a healthy economy.

During January and February of 2020, the final two months before government-mandated business shutdowns to combat the coronavirus began, jobless claims averaged 44,800 a week in California.

The initial unemployment claims filed last week in California are 37% higher than what they were just prior to the start of the coronavirus-linked lockdowns, this news organization’s analysis of the filings shows.

California’s job market also appears to be weaker than normal as well as in worse shape than the U.S. economy, based on other metrics.

The 61,000-plus jobless claims filed in California last week represent more than one-fourth — 25.7% — of all the unemployment claims filed nationwide, using comparable numbers that weren’t adjusted for seasonal changes.

California accounts for this outsized share of the jobless claims even though the Golden State has only 11.7% of the nationwide labor force.

It also appears that employers are less active in attempting to hire workers than is the case nationwide, according to the tracktherecovery website.

“Job postings in California continue to lag behind the national numbers,” said Michael Bernick, an employment attorney with law firm Duane Morris and a former director of the state Employment Development Department.

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