EDD jobless claims backlog rockets higher – Daily News

on May13
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A mammoth backlog of unemployment claims in California has reached its highest levels in more than two months, with well over 1 million workers stuck in bureaucratic limbo.

As of May 8, about 1.11 million California workers had filed jobless claims that were waiting for payment or resolution on the part of the state’s Employment Development Department, an EDD dashboard showed Thursday.

That’s an increase of 24,100 from the roughly 1.08 million California workers whose claims were trapped in the EDD unemployment logjam as of May 1, the dashboard shows.

The EDD appears unable to make meaningful headway on erasing the backlog of claims, a promise the state agency has yet to make good on.

A broken call center and glitch-ridden website that was based on a primitive computer language have hobbled the EDD’s efforts to issue unemployment benefits to millions of California workers.

The EDD backlog consists of two major components: claims that have taken more than 21 days for a resolution or payment and claims that are awaiting certification as the first step of the benefits process.

Claims that have been waiting more than 21 days for the EDD to pay or reject totaled 195,600 as of May 8, an increase of 29,400 from the week before, an increase of 17.7%.

The backlog for workers whose eligibility has yet to be certified totaled about 909,800 as of May 8, a decrease of roughly 5,200 from the week before, or a decline of 0.6%.

The overall bottleneck of 1.11 million on May 8 represented an increase of 2.2% from the week before, according to the EDD dashboard.

The current overall EDD backlog is the highest that it has been since Feb. 27, when 1.12 million claims were stuck in the bureaucratic limbo.

The backlog of jobless claims comes as new unemployment filings in California totaled 70,744 for the week ending May 8, a decline of  324 from the week ending May 1, when 70,766 claims were filed statewide, the U.S. Labor Department reported. Over the past four weeks, California jobless claims averaged about 73,200 a week.

Across the U.S., the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 473,000, a new pandemic low and the latest evidence that fewer employers are cutting jobs as consumers ramp up spending and more businesses reopen.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that applications declined 34,000 from a revised 507,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly jobless claims — a rough measure of the pace of layoffs — has fallen significantly from a peak of 900,000 in January. Instead of cutting jobs, many employers are struggling to attract enough applicants for open positions.

With hiring up, vaccinations increasing and the economy accelerating, consumers have grown more confident and, on average, are flush with cash after limiting their spending during the pandemic. Stimulus checks have also bolstered many bank accounts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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