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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 for over a year. January 2020 claims continued to be low by historic standards, totaling 175,500. (We apply a “seasonal adjustment” to the claims data because some months are predictably higher or lower than others.)

Monthly Unemployment Claims in California

Unemployment claims have been relatively flat over the past year, fluctuating slightly around an average of about 175,000. This pattern signals a strong labor market, contrary to other recent economic data, which has sent mixed signals about the condition of the state’s economy.

Historical monthly initial unemployment claims

Source: United States Department of Labor with LAO calculations


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