California’s unemployment insurance program, which covers about 80% of the state’s population, is under strain.
In March, the state Legislature passed a $8 billion tax cut that included $5.3 billion in funding for unemployment insurance, but the state is also facing a growing number of claims and has received nearly $2.7 billion in new payments.
The latest figures released by the Department of Finance show that unemployment insurance claims jumped 7% to a total of $5,077.3 million last month, an increase of 9.2% from the previous month.
Those numbers were a sharp increase from January and March, when unemployment insurance benefits were down by nearly $1 billion.
While the increase is worrisome, it does not appear to be a major factor in California’s economy, said Joe Cascio, executive director of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Cascio noted that the economy has grown at a much faster pace in recent months.
“I think what people are concerned about is the economy actually growing,” he said.
“That’s really the number that really matters.”
Statewide, the unemployment insurance programs unemployment insurance and veterans benefits rose 9% in the fourth quarter.
The state also received a record $1.2 billion in emergency unemployment benefits last month.
The spike in unemployment insurance costs comes at a time when states are beginning to implement a variety of measures to deal with the economy.
A growing number are cutting benefits to help reduce spending and the number of unemployed people is rising.
In Texas, the number has risen to nearly 16 million and the unemployment rate has risen from 4.7% in April to 5.8% in June.
In New Jersey, the economy is shrinking and the state now has just 6.7 million people unemployed, the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
But unemployment benefits are being cut back by 20% for all people, including veterans and state residents, and another 7% for anyone with less than 20 hours of work.
A total of 17 states are cutting unemployment benefits, with 13 states increasing them or increasing them by a third.
California has seen its unemployment rate rise to 7.9% in July, the highest rate in a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
California’s unemployment rate was 8.5% in August, the most recent data available.
The increase in unemployment benefits comes amid an economic downturn and amid a nationwide push to cut benefits.
President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have proposed slashing the federal unemployment benefit to 5% of a person’s income and to 5 days per month, or $400 a month.
But Democrats say they are also considering slashing unemployment benefits for state workers and extending them for 10 weeks.
The president and congressional leaders have said the money could be used to help the states recover from a prolonged downturn.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated last year that a 10-week extension would cost $7.2 trillion.
Some of the benefits being cut include $150 billion for a new disability compensation program that provides help for people who are unable to work because of injury, illness or job loss.
Another $150 million will go to help families who lose their jobs and are unable or unwilling to find another job.
The House of Representatives and Senate are also planning to pass legislation next week that would allow states to extend unemployment benefits beyond five weeks.