Jobless claims filed by California workers dropped by a tiny amount last week — but the statewide totals for unemployment claims still account for a jaw-dropping one out of every five filed in the United States — a report released Thursday shows.

An estimated 160,000 California workers filed initial claims for unemployment benefits during the week that ended on Jan. 2, which was down 8,700 from the 168,700 who filed first-time jobless claims during the week ending on Dec. 26, the U.S. Labor Department reported.

Jobless claims in the United States totaled 787,000 last week, a small decrease from the 790,000 initial unemployment claims that were filed the prior week, according to the Labor Department release on Thursday.

Despite the improvement, California’s jobless claims represent 20.3% of the jobless claims filed in the entire nation for the week that ended Jan. 2, this news organization’s analysis of the federal report determined.

California’s brutally high share of the nationwide unemployment claims is an ominous reminder of the coronavirus-spawned economic toll that has battered workers in the state for 10 dreary months.

Workers in California are losing their jobs in record numbers, partly as a result of wide-ranging shutdowns ordered by state and local government agencies that are scrambling to halt the spread of the deadly bug.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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