The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

More Californians applied for unemployment benefits in mid-June

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More Californians applied for unemployment benefits earlier this month due to layoffs in the services industry, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

There were 15,341 more claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending June 15, compared to a week earlier, the department said. California had the highest increase compared to any other state and bucked the national trend of falling unemployment claims.

Nationwide, unemployment claims fell by 9,000 to 346,000 claims last week, the department said.

Alec Levenson, a research scientist for USC Marshall School of Business' Center for Effective Organizations, cautioned against reading too much into the numbers.

He said the number of people applying for unemployment benefits fluctuates from month to month, and week to week. The high number of unemployment claims earlier this month will not necessarily impact the state's monthly unemployment rate, he said.

"If we had a large increase of unemployment claims over an extended period of time, say a few months, then ... it would [likely] show up in a higher unemployment rate," Levenson said.

But so far, he said the economy is moving in a positive direction.

Last month, California’s unemployment rate declined to 8.6 percent, the lowest in nearly five years.

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