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Claims for unemployment benefits 'skyrocket' in California

Joe Biden
Posted at 2:25 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 17:57:07-04

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits has skyrocketed in California as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders.

For the week ending on March 21, the state's Employment Development Department (EDD) reports processing 186,809 unemployment claims. That's a 363% increase over the same week last year.

It's also more than three times the number of claims from the week ending March 14, which was 57,606.

Overall, the U.S. is experiencing a record-high number of people applying for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The surge in weekly applications for benefits far exceeded the previous record set in 1982.

Earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom waived the normal one-week waiting period for Californians to collect unemployment benefits. California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su has also directed the EDD to streamline the claims process by exercising flexibility in how workers are determined eligible for benefits.

The EDD is also handling the influx in claims by staffing claims processing around the clock, redirecting hundreds of staff to claims processing and bringing back recent retirees, and hiring additional staff.

More information about unemployment benefits and resources for business owners can be found on the EDD website.