California Has Processed More Than 3 Million Unemployment Claims

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If I’ve done my sums correctly, workers have filed 3.3 million unemployment applications in California through last Saturday. So how far behind are we?

Critical financial support of more than $3 billion in Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits is flowing to workers who’ve lost their jobs or wages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, not including any estimated amounts for so far this week. The amount disbursed over the last six weeks ending April 18 includes $2 billion paid just last week alone, according to the latest official data from the California Employment Development Department (EDD). Last week’s total includes the extra $600 in federal stimulus payments the EDD is now automatically adding to every week of regular UI payments between March 29 and the end of July. The EDD has also processed 3.2 million claims over that same period since the pandemic impacts began. The 533,568 claims filed in the week ending April 18 is more than a 1,000% increase over the 44,729 claims filed in the same week last year.

Unless I’m missing something, this means that California has processed 3.2 million claims out of 3.3 million applications. Obviously there have been hiccups along the way as the Employment Development Department opened up a second call center and ramped up capacity by redirecting more than a thousand state workers to the unemployment system. But for the most part, California has caught up.

Which just goes to show what can happen when you take a crisis seriously and ditch the partisan sniping. That’s what California has done.

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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