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Coronavirus: California jobless claims fall to seven-month low, best level since shutdowns began

Unemployment claims in California are the fewest since March 21

Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began in March, a Thursday report showed, marking a key milestone on the recovery path for the state’s feeble job market.

California workers filed 158,900 first-time unemployment claims last week, down about 17,200 from the prior week, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

The decline comes as business shutdowns ease, and the employment picture could further improve in coming weeks.

“With four Bay Area counties moving to less-restrictive tiers, that will create some job growth in the near term,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

Still, even with the decline in claims, California faces slow job growth, lagging the nation in recovering jobs lost during the pandemic. In September, the unemployment rate was 11 percent in California, far higher than the U.S. jobless rate of 7.9 percent.

Nationwide, initial unemployment claims also improved to their lowest levels since mid-March. Read more via SiliconValley

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