California Unemployment Insurance Claims During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has led to historically unprecedented increases in the level of initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims filed in California since the start of the crisis in mid-March. Through a partnership with the Labor Market Information Division of the California Employment Development Department, the California Policy Lab is analyzing daily initial UI claims to provide an in-depth and near real-time look at how the COVID-19 crisis is impacting various industries, regions, counties, and types of workers throughout California. The Policy Briefs are updated on a quarterly basis.

Policy Brief Series

June 30th Policy Report 

April 29th Report: 10 Key Trends from the Unemployment Crisis in California

April 20th Policy Brief on Extended Benefits

March 18th Policy Report 

February 25th Data Point on Recipiency Rates in California

December 21st Policy Brief

December 14th Data Point on Impact of Extending UI Benefit Programs

November 19th Policy Brief

September 15th Policy Brief

September 1st Data Point on LWA Program

August 6th Policy Brief

July 29th Analysis on Adjusting the Earnings Disregard

July 27th Data Point on FPUC Program

July 2nd Policy Brief

June 11th Policy Brief

May 21st Policy Brief

May 7th Policy Brief

April 29th Policy Brief

Select Media Coverage

If you would like to receive CPL’s press releases about these reports, please email Sean Coffey: sean@capolicylab.org. 

Capitol Public Radio: Segment on June 30th Report (June 30th, 2021)

UCLA Blueprint: Covid’s Losses: Lives, Jobs, Hope (June 1, 2021)

Sacramento Bee: Gavin Newsom wants to give millions to state’s struggling unemployment agency. Will it help? (May 19, 2021)

San Jose Mercury News: California unemployment claims rise again, but stay under 100,000 (April 29, 2021)

Santa Barbara News Press: When extended unemployment benefits turn off (April 25, 2021)

New York Times: New state unemployment claims fell last week to a new pandemic low (April 22, 2021)

Barrons: Glitches in the Unemployment Insurance System Threaten Recovery. Here’s a Fix (April 22, 2021)

The Balance: Unemployment Glitch Leaves 300,000 Without Safety Net (April 21, 2021)

Fox Business News: Unemployment benefits ended prematurely for 300,000 workers during pandemic, study says (April 20, 2021)

CNBC: Unemployment benefits cut short for more than 300,000 during pandemic, study says (April 20, 2021)

Business Insider: Why at least 300,000 people in 33 states are losing unemployment benefits earlier than expected (April 20, 2021)

Bloomberg: Jobless Aid to 300,000 Cut Off Prematurely in Some U.S. States (April 22, 2021)

KQED: On Common Ground: Economic Recovery in California (April 19, 2021)

Santa Clarita Signal: Unemployment rates continue steady decline (March 27, 2021)

Associated Press: California’s unemployment rate edges down as state added 141,000 jobs in February (March 26, 2021)

Associated Press: US jobless claims fall to 684,000, fewest since pandemic (March 25, 2021)

Enterprise Record: National unemployment disparity in late 2020 reflects California trends (March 23, 2021)

Orange County Register: Coronavirus pandemic exposes stark differences in Orange County (March 21, 2021)

New York Times: Why Are Jobless Claims Still High? For Some, It’s the Multiple Layoffs. (March 18, 2021)

Capitol Public Radio: Interview with Till von Wachter about March 18th report and long-term unemployment (March 18, 2021)

Sacramento Bee: Eligible Latino workers are less likely to access unemployment benefits. Here’s why (March 5, 2021)

KQED: Hard Hit Communities Struggling When it Comes to Unemployment Benefits (March 2, 2021)

Associated Press: Despite mass job losses, California revenues soar by billions as rich get richer during pandemic (Feb 28, 2021)

KPCC: ‘EDD Is Failing California.’ Residents Fight Financial Distress As Unemployment Agency Troubles Continue (Feb 19, 2021)

CNBC: Bulk of jobless claims are due to repeat pandemic layoffs, say researchers (Feb 16, 2021)

YR Media: Pandemic Took Young People’s Jobs, and Maybe their Lifespans Too (Feb 16, 2021)

The Sun: A closer look at President Biden’s stimulus package and its impact on California (Feb 9, 2021)

CNBC: They went bust in the Great Recession. Now, in their 80s, the pandemic took their jobs (Feb 6, 2021)

San Francisco Chronicle: New California EDD snag could leave some without benefits for 2.5 months (Feb 5, 2021)

Bloomberg Opinion: The U.S. Unemployment System Is Broken But Fixable (Jan. 25, 2021)

Sacramento Bee: In MLK rally, Sacramento’s Poor People’s Campaign calls for change after Capitol violence (Jan 16, 2021)

San Jose Mercury News: ‘Desperate’ Bay Area residents brace for federal unemployment dollars to expire (Dec 26, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: ‘We’d love to see $2,000.’ Gavin Newsom endorses larger COVID-19 relief checks (Dec 23, 2020)

CapRadio: Amid Holiday Rush, Small Business Owners And Workers Worry About Their Futures (Dec 22, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: More stimulus money is on its way. Here are the answers to your questions (Dec 22, 2020)

KQED: Segment focused on December 21st report and UI benefits not reaching unemployed workers in communities of color and low-income communities at the same rates as unemployed workers in wealthier and whiter communities (Dec 21, 2020)

ABC 10: Interview with Professor Till von Wachter: Congress passes 2nd COVID-19 relief bill: Benefits, $600 stimulus check explained (Dec 21, 2020)

San Francisco Chronicle: How the new federal stimulus bill will help unemployed Californians (Dec 21, 2020)

KXTV ABC 10: Segment on Data Point focused on PUA and PEUC Programs expiring (Dec 20, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: It’s a deal. Californians could see more unemployment payments, stimulus checks soon (Dec 20, 2020)

KPCC/LAist: With Congress Down To The Wire, More Than A Million Californians Are At Risk Of Losing Unemployment Benefits (Dec 18, 2020)

Barrons: 1.1 Million Californians Projected to Lose Jobless Benefits By End of Year (Dec 16th)

The Signal (Santa Clarita Valley): Garcia briefs on possible second round of stimulus checks (Dec 16, 2020)

UC Berkeley News: California fears human, economic crisis as Washington relief talks continue (Dec 16, 2020)

KESQ News Channel 3: Nearly 1M Californians could lose benefits day after Christmas if Congress doesn’t pass COVID-19 stimulus bill (Dec 15, 2020)

ABC 7: 1M Californians will lose benefits day after Christmas if Congress doesn’t pass COVID-19 relief bill (Dec 11, 2020)

CNBC: 1.4 million American workers apply for unemployment benefits, as relief bill negotiations drag on (Dec 10, 2020)

Barron’s Live: Interview with Till von Wachter: The State of the Job Market and the Unemployment System (Dec 9, 2020)

KCRW: Segment about November 19th Policy Brief (Dec 1, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: 750,000 Californians are about to lose jobless benefits. What is Congress doing? (Dec 1, 2020)

Project Syndicate: The US Economy Needs a Booster Shot (Nov 30, 2020)

CalMatters: As pandemic aid ends, California families face brutal new year (Nov 25, 2020)

ABC 10 (Sacramento): Unemployment benefits programs: Who’s eligible, when payments end (Nov 24, 2020)

CNBC: Yes, you can get unemployment benefits if you’re laid off again. Here’s what you need to know (Nov 23, 2020)

Patch: LA Food Banks Gather Long Lines Ahead Of Thanksgiving (Nov 21, 2020)

USA Today: ‘It’s a big, scary mess’: 12 million Americans to lose jobless aid after Christmas if Congress fails to act (Nov 20, 2020)

ABC 10 Sacramento: ‘What the hell is happening in Washington?’ Turlock Congressman pushes for unemployment benefits extension (Nov 20, 2020)

Los Angeles Times: California employers bring back workers, but recovery worries linger (Nov 20, 2020)

CBS Los Angeles: Hundreds Of Thousands Of Residents Stand To Lose Unemployment Benefits By The End Of Next Month (Nov 20, 2020)

ABC 10 Sacramento: Segment on Nov. 19th Policy Brief (Nov 20, 2020)

AP: New virus rules threaten California’s October job gains (Nov 20, 2020)

Barrons: The Virus Is Surging. Growth Is Slowing. And Millions Are About to Lose Jobless Benefits. (Nov 20, 2020)

KPBS: Segment on Nov 19th UI Report (Nov 19, 2020)

CNN: Another 742,000 Americans filed for unemployment claims last week, the first increase in a month (Nov 19, 2020)

CapRadio: A large portion of Californians will soon lose unemployment benefits (Nov 19, 2020)

KPCC and LAist: Interview with Till von Wachter and article:  Three-Quarters Of A Million Californians Are At Risk Of Losing Unemployment Benefits Next Month (Nov 19, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Here’s how hard the coronavirus pandemic hit Black workers in California (Nov 19, 2020)

KQED: Segment on Nov 19th UI Report (Nov 19, 2020)

CNBC: 2 million Americans set to lose unemployment benefits by year’s end (Nov 19, 2020)

New York Times: A cutoff of federal unemployment benefits looms for 12 million workers (Nov 19, 2020)

San Francisco Chronicle: At least 750,000 Californians could lose unemployment benefits by end of 2020 (Nov 19, 2020)

NBC News: Latest jobs report shows long-term unemployment still on the rise, worrying economists (Nov 6, 2020)

CalMatters: California offered a lifeline when their hours were cut — then payments froze (November 3, 2020)

CNBC: This comic was $2 short of getting Trump’s $300 weekly unemployment benefit. Now, he’s on the edge of financial ruin (October 20, 2020)

Associated Press: US layoffs still high, but so is skepticism on jobless data (October 8, 2020)

The Guardian: ‘I’m drowning’: Californians of color most affected by growing backlog of jobless aid (Sept 28, 2020)

San Jose Mercury News: “Lower-pay, higher-risk”: Coronavirus layoffs send middle-class workers down the economic ladder (Sept. 27, 2020)

Vox: We can end America’s unemployment nightmare (September 23, 2020)

Barron’s: There Might Be Roughly 10 Million Fewer Jobless Americans Than It Seems. Here’s Why. (September 23, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Extra $300 unemployment money is gone. How will people survive without it? (September 21, 2020)

CalMatters: High housing costs keep Californians poor (September 20, 2020)

Los Angeles Times: California job growth is sluggish — and experts say it may get worse (September 18, 2020)

CNN: Another 860,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week (September 17, 2020)

Forbes: Allegations Of Fraud In The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program: Why The System Is Flawed (September 17, 2020)

New York Times: Why Unemployment Claims May Be Overcounted by Millions (September 16, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Surging California unemployment claims suggest widespread fraud, state says (September 16, 2020)

Silicon Valley Business Journal: Jobs report points to a mixed recovery for the state economy (September 16, 2020)

San Jose Mercury News: Coronavirus: California jobless claims are “startlingly high,” researchers say (September 15, 2020)

LAist: New Round Of Unemployment Benefits Excludes Many Young CA Workers (September 10, 2020)

Wisconsin Public Radio: Who Is Left Out Of Trump’s $300 Unemployment Insurance Boost? (September 10, 2020)

Los Angeles Times: California begins sending extra $900 to those unemployed due to COVID-19 (September 7, 2020)

The Wrap: $300 Weekly Unemployment Benefits to Begin in California on Sept 7 (September 5, 2020)

Associated Press: A new $300 federal jobless benefit? Not likely for some (September 3, 2020)

Capital Public Radio: Nearly 200,000 Unemployed Californians Won’t Get $300 Enhanced Benefit, Study Shows (September 3, 2020)

ABC 10 Sacramento: Thousands of people won’t get the $300 unemployment boost in California, here’s why (September 3, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Why thousands of unemployed California workers are unlikely to get extra $300 benefit (September 1, 2020)

San Francisco Chronicle: Another 1.1 million Americans file for unemployment as rate remains above 10% (August 20, 2020)

Los Feliz Ledger: Ryu Authors Motion for Rental & Utility Forgiveness (August 18, 2020)

Washington Examiner:Temporary layoffs becoming permanent job losses (August 14, 2020)

Cheddar: Unemployed Again: 2nd Wave of Coronavirus-Driven Layoffs Underway, Say Economists (August 10, 2020)

NBC News U.S. economy gains 1.8 million jobs as recovery loses momentum (August 7, 2020)

Spectrum News: Interview of Till von Wachter (August 7, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Trump signs executive order to boost unemployment checks. Can he do that? (August 7, 2020)

LAist/KPCC: Many Californians Who Went Back To Work Are Getting Laid Off — Again (August 7, 2020)

KCRW: Gridlock in Washington over extending PPP: What it means for California workers (August 7, 2020)

Newsweek: Nearly 1 in 3 California Workers Have Filed for Unemployment Since Pandemic Began (August 6, 2020)

San Jose Mercury News: Coronavirus: California unemployment claims fall for second straight week (August 6, 2020)

KPIX/CBS Bay Area: California’s High Unemployment Rate Signals More COVID-19-Related Hardships (August 6, 2020)

San Jose Mercury News: Fewer unemployed California workers expect to regain old jobs (August 6, 2020)

CNBC: In California, 57% seeking unemployment benefits lost their jobs for a second time (August 6, 2020)

The Week: What California’s unemployment numbers tell us about the COVID depression (August 6, 2020)

San Francisco Chronicle: Many of California’s recent unemployment claims are people refiling after temporary jobs, study finds (August 6, 2020)

CNBC: The $600 unemployment boost has ended. What’s next? (July 31, 2020)

San Francisco Chronicle: California jobless claims reach 9 million since mid-March amid record-shattering economic plunge (July 30, 2020)

Capital Public Radio: Low-Wage Workers Nervous As $600-A-Week Unemployment Stimulus Expires (July 30, 2020)

CNBC: GOP unemployment plan hurts these groups the most (July 29, 2020)

LAist: Could California Step Up To Replace Expiring Federal Unemployment Benefits? (July 29, 2020)

Los Angeles Times: California could create its own $600 weekly unemployment benefit (July 28, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: California’s recession could get worse if Congress cuts unemployment aid, studies say (July 28, 2020)

Lake County News: New analysis looks at how increased unemployment benefit helped state’s workers (July 28, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: From $600 a week to $200: How Republicans want to cut coronavirus unemployment benefits (July 27, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Extra $600 unemployment payments are ending — will they ever return? Here’s what we know (July 24, 2020)

LAist: Hundreds Of Thousands Are Behind On Rent. Why Won’t Politicians Cancel It? (July 24, 2020)

CBS 8 (San Diego): What’s next for Californians with extra $600 in unemployment set to expire on Sunday? (July 23, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: $600 benefit for unemployed workers would be reduced but not ended under new Trump plan (July 23, 2020)

ABC 7: Interview about the Expiring FPUC Benefit (July 20, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Unemployed workers’ extra $600 benefit is about to expire — but Democrats have new plans (July 20, 2020)

CalMatters: Chaos in unemployment insurance (July 9, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Still on hold: California’s unemployment call center is broken. When will it get fixed? (July 2, 2020)

KQED: Over Half of Hospitality Workers Lose Their Jobs in San Francisco Area (June 25, 2020)

Fresno Bee: How a pandemic exposed racial inequality, food insecurity in California’s Central Valley (June 18, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: California’s economic recovery is among the slowest in the nation. Here’s why (June 18, 2020)

San Francisco Public Press: Construction Ramps Up in S.F. — for Now (June 16, 2020)

HuffPost: Trump Administration Says It’s Not Forcing People Back To Work. Workers Disagree (June 13, 2020)

La Voz News: With no support students cannot continue to pay the same price for tuition (June 12, 2020)

KPCC: A Growing Number Of Laid-Off Californians Are Getting Back To Work (June 11, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Jobs in California are coming back after coronavirus lockdown. But not for everyone (June 11, 2020)

San Jose Mercury News: Coronavirus: California unemployment claims rise for second straight week (June 11, 2020)

USA Today California Newsletter: Unemployment claims are down, but is that a good thing? (June 11, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Pandemic unemployment benefit is set to expire. Will a back-to-work bonus replace it? (June 9, 2020)

Los Angeles Times: There’s a black jobs crisis. Coronavirus is making it worse (June 5, 2020)

Business Insider: Coronavirus layoffs have not been equal. Here are the workers that have been hit hardest by pandemic job losses (May 30, 2020)

PBS NewsHour: 3 charts reveal how the COVID-19 unemployment crisis isn’t over (May 29, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: How fast will Sacramento bounce back from mass layoffs? There’s pessimism, and a glimmer of hope (May 24, 2020)

Capital Public Radio: ‘Like Nothing Before Seen’: California Lost Record 2.3 Million Jobs In April As Unemployment Rate Spiked To 15.5% (May 22, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: These groups have been hit especially hard by California’s unemployment surge (May 26, 2020)

CNBC: How Unemployment Insurance Abroad Compares To The U.S. (May 22, 2020)

Sacramento Bee: Will laid-off California workers get their old jobs back? Most think they will (May 21, 2020)

KNX AM Radio: Interview with Till von Wachter (May 7, 2020)

Barrons: Laid-Off Workers Show Confidence They’ll Be Rehired (May 8, 2020)

Washington Post: 3.8 million Americans sought jobless benefits last week, extending pandemic’s grip on the national workforce (April 30, 2020)

538: Nearly 20 Percent Of The U.S. Labor Force Has Filed For Unemployment Since Mid-March (April 30, 2020)

San Jose Mercury News: Coronavirus unemployment: California jobless claim filings slow (April 30, 2020)

KPCC/LAist: Study Estimates 1 In 5 Californians Have Applied For Unemployment (April 30, 2020)

CalMatters: Which Californians are filing for unemployment insurance? (May 1, 2020)

Sacramento News and Review: After the COVID-19 pandemic, will the economy be better for workers? (April 29, 2020)



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