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California

L.A. unemployment hits stunning 24%: ‘These are our neighbors and they’re hurting,’ Garcetti says

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, shown last year at City Hall, met with federal officials, local nonprofit organizations and business owners to discuss ways to encourage immigrants to become U.S. citizens.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles has been touted for implementing a swift stay-at-home order to combat the coronavirus, but those efforts have not come without consequence, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in his latest COVID-19 update.

In his final daily evening briefing Friday, Garcetti said the unemployment rate in Los Angeles has risen from 4.7% in February to more than 24% now. The country as a whole has lost 20.5 million jobs in April, sending the nation’s unemployment rate to 14.7%, the highest since at least the 1940s.

“Those aren’t just numbers,” he said. “Those are lives and livelihoods. These are our neighbors and they are hurting and they need our assistance.”

As some businesses and outdoor recreation areas prepare to open over Mother’s Day weekend, Garcetti said he has established “working groups” comprising of business and labor leaders in industries such as manufacturing, retail, film and television who in the last two weeks have been assisting in creating guidelines and advising business owners in operating safely during this transition phase.

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Groups of leaders in other industries, such as sports and live venues, will begin to convene in the coming weeks, he said.

“We will rebuild. We will recover. And we will reimagine this city,” Garcetti said.

On Friday, the U.S. government said the COVID-19 pandemic erased 20.5 million jobs in April and sent the nation’s unemployment rate to 14.7%, the highest since at least the 1940s.

Although 18 million of the 23 million total unemployed in April said they were on a temporary layoff, many of those furloughs appear not to have a definite end date, and more could become permanent as the effects of the pandemic continue to spread.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration projected Thursday that California’s 2020 unemployment rate will be 18%, compared with a peak of 12.3% during the Great Recession.

The governor said that more than 4.3 million Californians have filed new claims for unemployment benefits since March 12.

“These numbers are jaw-dropping. It is alarming,” Newsom said. “We’ve never experienced anything like this in our lifetime.”


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