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COVID economy: California unemployment claims stay far above normal

California workers filed fewer unemployment claims last week, the government reported — but the tiny decline suggests the state’s economy continues to wobble beneath a pile of jobless filings that are far above normal levels.

Unemployment claims in California totaled about 70,442 during the week that ended on May 8, which was a decline of only 324 from the week ending May 1, when 70,766 claims were filed statewide, the U.S. Labor Department reported.

Nationwide, unemployment claims fell significantly, totaling 473,000 during the week ending May 1, which was a decline of 34,000 from the week before.

In California, initial jobless claims remain at levels that are ominously high when compared with what was the case prior to wide-ranging business shutdowns that the government ordered to blunt the spread of the coronavirus.

Over the past four weeks, California jobless claims averaged about 73,200 a week.

The current pace of unemployment filings in California is a whopping 63% higher than the weekly filings that were posted in January 2020 and February 2020, the final two months before business shutdowns were ordered in a quest to combat the deadly bug.

During those last two pre-COVID months, unemployment claims averaged 44,800 a week in California, according to this news organization’s analysis of figures reported by the state Employment Development Department.

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