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SAN JOSE (KPIX) — While there are increasing signs of California’s economy picking up steam as it emerges from pandemic-related stagnation, a new jobs report out Thursday shows that much of the state’s economy is still sputtering.
Unemployment claims in California spiked to their highest levels since early January. According to the state labor department, there were 145,000 unemployment filings last week, up 16,000 from the week before.
California additionally accounted for about 1 in 5 unemployment claims filed across the nation.
75% of the California claims were “additional claims” from workers who had already filed for unemployment during the past year.
“What it suggests is a large number of continued layoffs, volatility, businesses bringing back people but then laying them off again,” said Labor Attorney and former head of the EDD Michael Bernick.
But despite the increase in unemployment, some employers say they’re having trouble hiring workers, especially some entry level hospitality jobs.
“We need people to work front of the house, back of the house, servers, hosts,” said Erin Murphy, an HR Director for a South Bay restaurant group that has hundreds of openings.
But Murphy said there are very few applicants to fill the many positions available.
“We’re just not finding those candidates. We’re kind of wondering where everyone went,” she said.
One factor could be the jobs just don’t pay enough. Workers have found that for jobs paying less than $25,000 a year, they can actually bank more money by staying on unemployment after factoring in state and federal unemployment checks.
One manager said it’s threatening the state’s economic rebound.
“Even when things are opened up 100 percent, I think a lot of businesses won’t be able to open up because of the hiring issues right now,” said Randy Musterer, who owns two Sushi Confidential restaurants in San Jose and Campbell.
Musterer said he may offer employees bonuses if they can help bring in more workers such as their friends or family members.
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