California sees one million unemployment claims in less than two weeks

Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Sept. 16, 2019.

Rich Pedroncelli | AP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that the state has seen one million unemployment claims in less than two weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has led to businesses being shutdown across the state. 

“We just passed the one million mark, in terms of the number of claims, just since March 13,” Newsom said. 

Newsom’s announcement comes one day before a key national data release on new jobless claims for the United States, which some have projected to be in the multi-millions. The initial claims data has never before surpassed 1 million, and it was 285,000 last week. 

The San Francisco area was the first region in the country to install a “shelter-in-place” order on March 16. Newsom signed a “stay-at-home” order for the whole state three days later. 

The governor praised the proposed Senate relief bill to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. California provides up to $450 per week for unemployment insurance, Newsom said, and the proposed Senate bill would add $600 per week for up to four months. 

“This bill will be very helpful, and it’s very timely,” Newsom said.

California and its cities will get $10 billion from a block grant portion of the proposed relief bill in the Senate, not including the benefits to workers and individuals, Newsom said. 

Four Republican senators have said they have issues with the unemployment benefits in the bill, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced he would oppose the bill if the Republicans did not drop their complaints. 

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