With California Set To Reopen, Backlogs Persist at Unemployment Agency

While California is set to fully reopen on June 15, it may take more than the lifting of restrictions for the state to recover from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The unemployment rate appears to be holding steady. Businesses are opening positions, but residents are also dropping out of the workforce entirely. And the state’s Employment Development Department, which handles unemployment claims, is still working to resolve thousands of backlogged cases and battling fraud. Emily Hoeven, who writes the daily WhatMatters newsletter for the nonprofit newsroom CalMatters, returns to “Civic” with the latest on how the state is handling unemployment.

“The claims that have been backlogged more than 21 days because of EDD, that number has been growing each week, even as the number of claims that claimants need to certify has been decreasing. So to put that another way: That backlog is growing because of EDD inaction, basically. That signals that things are going in the wrong direction, because things are reopening in California. People should be going back to work, but actually, the amount of people who are filing new unemployment claims is increasing. And so is the number of claims that have yet to be processed.”

— Emily Hoeven

A segment from our radio show and podcast, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco, and subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify or Stitcher

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