From Center for Jobs and the Economy <[email protected]>
Subject Unemployment Data Update: March 2020 through April 3, 2021
Date April 8, 2021 10:45 PM
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Web Version [link removed] | Update Preferences [link removed] [link removed] Unemployment Data Update: March 2020 through April 3, 2021 Unemployment Insurance Claims

Total initial claims in California experienced a sharp rise during the week of April 3 while easing in the US as a whole.

In California, initial claims processed in the regular program were up 36.6% compared to the prior week, while PUA claims climbed 47.5%. In the national totals, regular claims rose 2.5%, while PUA claims dropped 36.1% due to a deep shift in Ohio. Combined, total claims processed were up 38.1% in California and down 7.0% in the US numbers.

The most current results show a reversal in the general trend in California, but a continued easing in the numbers for the rest of the states.

By industry, initial claims continued to come from those hardest hit throughout the state restrictions period, led by Accommodation & Food Services (20%), Retail Trade (11%), and Health Care & Social Assistance (11%).

County Tier Status & the Unemployed

In the most recent results for February, California tied with Connecticut for the third highest unemployment rate in the country, behind only Hawaii which is even more dependent on tourism-related employment and New York which adopted lock-down strategies comparable to California’s.

These numbers only cover the officially unemployed and not workers who have left the labor force during the pandemic period including workers who have given up on trying to find a job, workers who are fearful of contracting the disease if they get a job, and parents who have had to quit their jobs to take care of their children while the California public schools have remained closed.

The most recent tier allocations for the week of April 6 from the Department of Public Health [[link removed]] show the most improvements to date in relieving restrictions to business activities and jobs. Counties in the second lowest Tier 3 restrictions held 82.2% of February’s unemployment, but 17.0% remain within the second highest Tier 2. All counties remain under some level of restrictions which present barriers to the state’s economic recovery and continued reliance of many workers on unemployment benefits, although the governor recently announced his intention [[link removed]] to remove the tiered system by June 15. The governor also indicated that he expects schools to reopen as well, but did not indicate any provisions that would require them to do so.

School Openings and Unemployment

Continued school closings and as critically continued uncertainty over those closings has been a key element undermining the state’s attempts to apply concepts of equity in its response to the pandemic. A recent analysis [[link removed]] of Current Popular Survey microdata on the national level concludes that adults with children were more likely to have dropped out of the labor force in the pandemic period, with mothers in the lower income levels far more likely to do so. Even at the higher income level, parents were still more likely to have left the workforce during this period than adults without children as schools remained closed in California and many other states, but the effect was more equal for both mothers and fathers. As income declined, women overall showed greater effects from state actions shutting down portions of the economy, but mothers showed the most profound disparate effects from the additional pressures from closed schools, evidencing a nearly 9% drop in labor force participation between February and December 2020 as shown in the chart below.

Source: Olivia Lofton, Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau, and Lily Seitelman, Parental Participation in a Pandemic Labor Market, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Economic Letter, April 5, 2021

In the latest February survey [[link removed]] results from National Center for Education Statistics, California remained well below the national average in the share of 4th and 8th grade students in schools offering in-person instruction to all students. Because their survey response rate was not statistically significant, the chart below does not include 15 states and DC.

Vaccine Tracker

In the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control [[link removed]], California remained just above the US average in the share of vaccine doses being administered. Total vaccine supplies were up 3.6 million for the week (11.9% of the national gain), while the number of shots administered were up 2.6 million (12.1% of the national total). As of midday April 8, a total of 24.3 million shots have been administered in the state covering 14.1 million people, or 35.7% of the population.


The most current EDD backlog data [[link removed]] for the week of April 3 indicates total backlogged claims were down only 2% from the week before, while those awaiting EDD action were down 19%. Backlogged claims are defined as those awaiting action for 21 days or longer.

The related call center data indicates that on average—using total number of calls received and the number of unique callers—the average caller put in 9.2 calls trying to reach EDD. Of the unique callers, 62% had their calls answered by staff.

Long-Term Unemployment

The surge of initial claims from newly unemployed produced a one-week dip in the growing trend of long-term unemployment in the state. Payments for the extended benefit programs (PEUC and Fed Ed) were 41.5% of the total, with the regular benefits (regular and PUA) again comprising the majority of payments during the week of March 27.

UI Fund

In the most recent data from EDD [[link removed]], California paid out a total of $135.5 billion in benefits under all the UI programs over the year beginning the week of March 7, 2020.

The most current estimate [[link removed]] is that up to $31 billion of unemployment benefits was paid out to fraudulent claims, consisting of $11 billion in known fraud and up to $20 billion in suspected fraud.

The most recent data from the US Department of Labor [[link removed]] indicates California’s outstanding loans from the Federal Unemployment Account were $21.9 billion, or 40% of the total amount owed by 19 states and 1 territory.

visit the center for jobs » [[link removed]] The California Center for Jobs and the Economy provides an objective and definitive source of information pertaining to job creation and economic trends in California. [[link removed]] Contact 1301 I Street Sacramento, CA 95814 916.553.4093 If you no longer wish to receive these emails, select here to unsubscribe. [link removed]
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