Coronavirus unemployment: California workers file one-fifth of all U.S. jobless claims

California workers filed fewer first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week — yet workers in the state still accounted for a brutally high one-fifth of all the jobless claims filed in the United States, federal officials reported Thursday.

Layoffs continue to hound California workers in the wake of wide-ranging business shutdowns ordered by state and local government agencies to combat the coronavirus.

“California continues to have an outsized number of claims, relative to the rest of the nation,” said Michael Bernick, an employment attorney with law firm Duane Morris and a former director of the state Employment Development Department.

The statewide workforce is just 7.2% of the nation’s labor force — yet during the week that ended on Oct. 24, California accounted for a whopping 20.3% of all the initial unemployment claims filed in the country.

The only bright spots for the state’s weak economy: Initial unemployment claims have decreased in California for three weeks in a row, and dropped by 7,800 last week, when an estimated 152,100 workers filed for benefits, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

Nationwide, 751,000 workers filed first-time jobless claims, down 40,000 from the prior week, the government reported.

Despite the modest improvement in California, a chasm divides California from other major states, even those that suffered great economic damage from coronavirus-linked business shutdowns.

No other state reported more than 55,000 claims last week. Read more via SiliconValley