Since Gov. Gavin Newsom shutdown California businesses in mid-March, Californians have filed 8.6 million total new claims for unemployment.
In the age group of working Californians, ages 18-65, this is a rate of 39% of unemployed, higher than at the peak of the Depression in the 1920’s which was 24.9%.
Notably, California has approximately 12% of the nation’s workforce, and one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.
California’s unemployment averages 27 percent of all claims for unemployment in the United States.
Instead of turning 20,000 California state workers into Coronavirus contact tracers, the governor should have moved them over to the EDD to process unemployment claims.
California Unemployment benefits top $86 billion since March Shutdown
Now Governor Newsom’s Employment Development Department Strike Team issued a new report that shows nearly 1.6 million claims have not beed resolved, dating back to March and April of this year and the backlog is growing by 10,000 a day.
The governor also announced that the EDD will be taking a two-week break to overhaul and update the current system, while also halting all new claims until October 5th, California Globe reported Monday.
“We worked through the weekend to do just that,” Newsom said during a press conference Monday. “I didn’t want to wait another day to start this reset.”
This “reset” couldn’t come at a worse time, with the state still under business lockdown restrictions.
“This is unacceptable,” said Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa). “The private sector would work on parallel tracks – use business hours to meet the needs of customers and the nonbusiness hours to reboot and modernize the internal systems.”
“This abuse of California’s unemployed must end. The past six months my office has helped more than 700 constituents with EDD problems. For the EDD to halt new claims means more unneeded suffering. Rhode Island solved its computer problems by downloading free software. Adjusted for California’s higher volume, the same could be done here.”
“The state that’s the center of the global computer industry should be at the forefront of service, not the end. The Governor should have people working around the clock to fix this problem.”
Newsom said, “These changes will cause real stress — especially for families and businesses least equipped financially to deal with them. The state of California is working closely with businesses who will feel the economic shock of these changes, and we are mobilizing every level of government to help families as they persevere through this global health crisis.”
“Yet, his rhetoric did not materialize into streamlined and accountable action. Instead of the Employment Development Department (EDD) taking the last six months to improve its system to accommodate the large new number of cases from the coronavirus lockdown, it has become a bureaucratic mess.”
Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove expressed dismay:
“What did Governor Newsom expect when he closed down tens of thousands of businesses and put millions of Californians in the unemployment line?
“199 days after the governor shut down California’s economy and millions of people lost their job, the Governor’s Strike Team issued a report stating that EDD has yet to resolve problems on more than 1.5 million claims, call centers are non-responsive and verification processes are not stopping fraud. Some Californians have been waiting since March to receive help. The delays, lack of transparency from the Governor, and mismanagement at the EDD are not only disappointing, but they are insulting to the California families who so desperately need this help.”
EDD by the numbers
- Last week California was again 29% of the nations new unemployment claims.
- This was the 4th week in a row the state is more than 25% of the nation’s unemployment claims.
- 5 out of the last 6 weeks we have been over 25%.
According to the EDD:
California has processed a total of 13,108,889 unemployment claims.
252,058 total unemployment claims were filed last week – the U.S. Department of Labor reported 884,000 total.
Of those, only 46,062 were regular unemployment claims.
145,790 were Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims.
59,582 were Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation claims, which are an extension of a regular UI claim. For the week ending September 5, 2020, PEUC total weeks claimed was 369,443.
6,324 were Federal State Extended Duration unemployment claims, which provides up to 20 weeks of additional benefits for people who used all of their unemployment benefits during a period of high unemployment.
“Currently, the EDD has a backlog of nearly 600,000 Californians who have applied for UI more than 21 days ago and yet their claims have not been processed, and an estimated 1 million cases where individuals received payments but subsequently modified their claim and thus are awaiting resolution,” the EDD reported Friday.