California: Employment, Unemployment and the Big Bad Coronavirus

It would have been nice if California’s unemployment figures would have dropped given the mass vaccine rollout. But numbers between May and June remained at a static 7.7%, a slight drop from April’s 8% figure.  Having said that, 73,500 jobs were created in June but only 24,500 people seem to have gotten them indicating that there are many thousands of open positions.

Governor Gavin Newsom however said that the local economy is “roaring back” given the number of jobs that have been created. But is this actually true? Not according to a recent report conducted by United Ways of California on the cost of living that illustrated just how hard it is for Californians to live with fiscal stability. Indeed, the report found that because housing and childcare costs have increased so much – and this has not been matched by a hike in salaries – a staggering 3.5million households where people are working cannot pay for their most fundamental needs. Thus CEO and President of United Ways of California Peter Manzo, said there is a clear need to broaden eligibility for safety net programs. 

What’s perhaps even more concerning is the fact that the report was not just referring to the pandemic but used data from up to five years before it started.  And it showed that there is a huge divide between California’s haves and have-nots that is only worsening.