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California unemployment claims drop sharply

New California unemployment claims fell sharply last week and dropped below 100,000 for only the second time since government-ordered business shutdowns to combat the coronavirus began, the government reported Thursday.

Workers in California filed 89,500 initial claims for unemployment last week, a decrease of 50,100 from the prior week, the U.S. Labor Department reported.

In the United States, workers filed 730,000 initial claims for unemployment during the week that ended on Feb. 20, a decline of 111,000 from the 841,000 claims filed during the week ending Feb. 13, according to the labor agency.

The decline below 100,000 benchmark offers a possible bright spot in the forbidding  landscape for the job markets in California and the Bay Area, which have been battered by business shutdowns that state and local government agencies have orchestrated in a quest to combat the spread of the deadly bug.

For 45 of the last 47 weeks, unemployment claims in California have been well above 100,000, this news organization’s analysis of the jobless claims shows.

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