California’s battered job market showed signs of improvement amid widespread business shutdowns and cutbacks due to the coronavirus with a decrease in first-time claims for unemployment, federal labor officials reported Thursday.

An estimated 267,100 workers California filed initial claims for jobless benefits during the week that ended on July 4, which was down about 10,000 from the 277,400 who filed unemployment claims for the first time during the week ending on June 27, according to a new report by the U.S. Labor Department.

The decrease in claims filed in California over two consecutive weeks marked the first time that’s happened in about two months.

In the U.S., slightly more than 1.31 million workers filed first-time unemployment claims for the week ending on July 4, down roughly 99,000 from the approximately 1.41 million who filed initial jobless claims for the prior week.

The California improvement in unemployment claims marked the second consecutive week that those totals decreased. The last time that happened was during the week that ended on May 9.

Over the most recent four weeks that ended on July 4, California initial unemployment claims have averaged 267,600. That was up about 2,800 from the weekly average of 264,800 for the four weeks that ended on June 27. The four-week moving average is a way to smooth out the often sharp weekly fluctuations in jobless claims.

The slight rise in California claims averaged out over four weeks was triggered by a sharp spike during the week of June 20 when claims jumped by 43,100 and totaled 284,500. At the time, that marked the highest level for California jobless claims since April 25.

The weekly average for unemployment claims in the United States totaled 1.44 million for the four weeks that ended on July 4, down 63,000 from the average of 1.5 million for the four weeks that ended on June 27.

LA Daily News