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Unemployment claims are a useful indicator of the health of the state’s economy. As the figure below shows, unemployment claims have been near historic lows throughout 2018. This continued in November. (We apply a “seasonal adjustment” to the claims data because some months are predictably higher or lower than others.)

Monthly Unemployment Claims in California

In November 2018, California had 175,000 unemployment claims (after seasonal adjustment). As shown on the left side of the graphic below, unemployment claims have trended downward over the past 12 months—last November, claims totaled 189,000. In contrast, as the right side of the graphic below shows, unemployment claims typically rise leading up to a recession. The recent claims data, therefore, appear to offer little evidence that an economic slowdown is likely in the coming months.

12 Month Trend in Unemployment Claims

Source: United States Department of Labor with LAO calculations


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