Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
When it comes to jobless rates on the rebound, count California among the country’s slowest performers.
In fact, California is ranked No. 44 among all states plus the District of Columbia for unemployment rates seeing the greatest recovery. Personal finance website WalletHub ran the numbers, comparing June unemployment rates to June 2019 as well as January, in addition to unemployment insurance claims and each state’s overall unemployment rate.
It could be a number of factors causing California businesses to not hire or rehire at the pace of a state such as Kentucky, which had a June unemployment rate of 4.8%, actually down 6.5% from where it was in June 2019.
California’s unemployment rate for June was 15.1%, up 258.1% from June 2019.
The most obvious factor for California could be the rise in positive cases, which really started to spike in mid-June, leading up to Gov. Newsom’s renewed shut down of businesses in mid-July. But don’t rule out what was happening even before the coronavirus pandemic reached the Golden State. California is highly regulated and taxed, creating unforgiving conditions for employers.
Take AB 5 as an example, which mostly eliminates the ability for businesses to hire workers on a contract basis. Opponents of the bill argue that any measures that hinder hiring in the midst of a pandemic and ensuing economic recession is counterproductive. Their words have fallen on deaf ears.
California’s elected officials should be doing everything they can to empower employers to do the hiring that drives the economy.