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Jobless claims in California are rising to a three-month high

California’s shaky job market tumbled in 2022, seeing jobless claims soar for two straight weeks, now climbing to their worst level in nearly three months.

California workers filed 63,000 initial jobless claims in the week ended Jan. 8, a large increase of 12,800 from the 50,200 filed nationwide in the week ended Jan. 1, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. These numbers have not been adjusted for seasonal volatility.

Nationwide, workers filed 230,000 initial jobless claims last week, 23,000 more than the 207,000 claims filed in the United States the previous week, according to the Department of Labor. These figures have been adjusted for seasonal fluctuations.

The roughly 63,000 jobless claims that California workers made in the week ending January 8 was the highest weekly total since October 16, when workers filed 72,900 claims – nearly three months ago.

The recent spike in unemployment could suggest employers have started new rounds of layoffs amid a new wave of illnesses caused by the Coronavirus-Omicron variant.

The number of layoffs last week was far higher than what would be typical for a normal California economy.

In January 2020 and February 2020, the last two months before state and local government agencies imposed sweeping business closings to fight the spread of the coronavirus, California was filing an average of 44,800 jobless claims per week.

That means the latest weekly total of jobless claims is a staggering 41% higher than the average total in California in early 2020.

The big jump in jobless claims has created a bleak picture of when California could bounce back from the massive layoffs in March 2020 and April 2020, the first two months of business freezes.

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