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California's unemployment rate soared to 15.5% in April

The unemployment rate increased 10.2 percentage points since March. It's the largest one month increase since 1976 when the state began using its current formula.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The state of California lost 2.3 million jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic that shuttered most businesses.

The unemployment rate increased 10.2 percentage points since March. It's the largest one month increase since 1976 when the state began using its current formula to measure job losses. And it's higher than the 12.5% unemployment rate the state reached during the Great Recession a decade ago.

The numbers reflect survey results from the week of April 12. The numbers are likely far higher now.

Nationwide, roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The number of weekly applications has slowed for seven straight weeks, and last week the figures declined in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Yet historically, they remain immense — roughly 10 times the typical figure that prevailed before the virus struck.

Even in states that have been reopened the longest, like Georgia, not enough shoppers are visiting stores and restaurants to support significant rehiring, said David Gilbertson, an executive at Kronos.

“Our data is suggesting this recovery is going to take a while,” Gilbertson said.

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