California’s Data Revisions Paint Less-Dire Picture of U.S. Jobs By Bloomberg


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(Bloomberg) — The number of Californians who filed for unemployment benefits the week ended Oct. 10 was almost almost a quarter less than previously reported, according to Labor Department figures that show a better trajectory than previously thought for the U.S. labor market because of the state’s size.

For the three weeks spanning late September and early October, federal reports on jobless claims showed California’s number of applications for state benefits stuck at the mid-September level of 226,179 while the state paused processing to whittle down a massive backlog and improve fraud prevention. That skewed the national reading higher because it didn’t reflect the true picture of claims in the most populous state, which is home to one of eight Americans.

A technical note included with Labor’s claims report on Thursday said California completed its pause in claims processing and resumed reporting actual unemployment insurance filings data based on weekly activity. The revised state data showed claims in California at 171,220 for the week ended Sept. 26 and 148,213 for the following week — both significant drops from the previously reported placeholder number of 226,179. Thursday’s main U.S. report showed 176,083 Californians filed initial claims during the week ended Oct. 10.

Read more: California’s Data Backlog to Cloud U.S. for Weeks

The revisions don’t alter the broader picture of a still-struggling labor market, where the number of Americans filing for unemployment each week remains far above pre-pandemic levels. But if the national numbers had reflected an accurate count in California, the improvement would show greater momentum from week to week.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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