California Braces For Unemployment Surge As 40 Million Residents Must Stay Home
Tami Abdollah is dot.LA's senior technology reporter. She was previously a national security and cybersecurity reporter for The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. She's been a reporter for the AP in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and for L.A.'s NPR affiliate KPCC. Abdollah spent nearly a year in Iraq as a U.S. government contractor. A native Angeleno, she's traveled the world on $5 a day, taught trad climbing safety classes and is an avid mountaineer. Follow her on Twitter.
Rachel Uranga covers the intersection of business, technology and culture. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.
California has seen a major surge in unemployment insurance claims and is bracing for a continued spike as a result of the global spread of COVID-19, which has forced a statewide shelter-in-place order for the Golden State's nearly 40 million residents, state officials said.
As of Thursday, California's Unemployment Development Dept. reported "a huge spike in the number of claims coming in from impacted Californians" with the 58,208 claims processed in the week prior, from Sunday March 8 through Saturday March 14, up from 43,385 claims the week prior, according to EDD spokesman Barry C. White. Those numbers dwarf the roughly 41,000 claims that have the recent average over the last few months.
The numbers do not reflect the number of applications received by unemployed workers in any given week, just those who submit claims, so the numbers may not accurately reflect the totality of the numbers of workers who have lost their jobs. The data also doesn't take into account workers who have had their hours reduced but are not qualified for unemployment insurance.
"The EDD is applying a variety of strategies to direct as many staff resources as possible to keep up with the increased claim load," White said.
University of California, Los Angeles economists recently predicted Monday that the U.S. has entered a recession as a result of an end-to-end disruption in global supply chains that have shocked both the supply and demand side of markets. The U.S. recession is expected to last through September, with California's downturn expected to be more severe due to its larger reliance on tourism and trans-Pacific transportation.
California's specific employment is expected to contract by 0.7% in 2020 with the second and third quarters contracting at the annual rate of 2.6%. The unemployment rate is expected to rise to 6.3% by the end of 2020 and is expected to increase into 2021 at an average of 6.6%. By first quarter 2021, California is expected to lose more than 280,000 payroll jobs with more than one-third in leisure, hospitality, transportation and warehousing.
Peter Pham, co-founder of Science Inc. in Santa Monica, said the economic ramifications of the novel coronavirus are going to be "profound."
"Next week, I think you're gonna see massive layoffs like 20,000, 30,000 people at one company," he told dot.LA on Thursday. "You're going to see furloughs of people...You're going to see a reduction in hours for hourly workers that puts them in a really weird position where they can't file for unemployment. But it saves the company on tax issues.
"There will be a lot of corporate manipulation unfortunately around what's going to happen. We're just seeing the beginning of the economic collapse that we're going to see. It's going to be bad," Pham said.
Blind, an anonymous professional network has been leveraging its 3.2 million users — all verified via their work emails — to ask questions about job security, income issues, and working from home, amid the spread of COVID-19.
Blind's users primarily occupy the tech space, with 60,000 of its employees at Amazon, others on the platform work in finance and telecom.
In its newest survey, Blind found that among 3,000 respondents, more than 57% feared being laid off. That fear broke down to nearly 88% of employees at Expedia, nearly 38% at Facebook, more than 46% at Amazon, and more than 45% at Apple.
Meanwhile, nearly 25% of those surveyed have found new ways to supplement their income, including nearly 53% of eBay employees, nearly 20% of Amazon employees, more than 20% of those at Google, and more than 37% of those at Apple.
A good portion of employees — more than 40% — remain relatively optimistic that life will go "back to normal" in six months to a year. Three percent of employees think it will take 1-3 months while nearly 14% believe it will take more than a year.
The survey opened on Thursday and the company plans to keep it open throughout the weekend.
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Brad Inman, founder at Inman
Brad Inman, Founder at Inman<p>Award-winning journalist and publisher, Brad Inman is the founder and owner of Inman, real estate's leading name in news, information and innovation since 1983. In addition, his Inman-branded real estate business and technology conferences bring thousands of thought leaders together each year to share best practices and promote innovation. Countless new products and companies have been launched at Inman conferences.</p><p>A native of Carlinville, Illinois, and a graduate of Boston University, Inman began his career as a housing policy analyst and community advocate who parlayed a weekly real estate column in the San Francisco Examiner at the dawn of the Internet era into a series of entrepreneurial ventures. In 1999, Inman founded HomeGain.com, an early provider of online marketing programs. HomeGain was sold to Classified Ventures, LLC, in 2005. That same year, Inman founded TurnHere, an online commercial video platform and, in 2008, founded Vook, an online e-publishing platform. He also was an early investor in Curbed.com and served as chairman of the board before it was sold to Vox Media. A compelling speaker, he is a regular at real estate events around the nation and has been a visiting lecturer in the School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.</p>
Spencer Rascoff, Co-Founder, Executive Chairman
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Here are the latest headlines regarding how the protests around the killing of George Floyd are impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest update.
- Disney will donate $5M to Social Justice Groups
- Blck VC group launches 'We Won't Wait' campaign
- a16z VC firm launches fund to target diverse founders
- Snap stops promoting Trump's account in its Discover feature
Disney will donate $5M to Social Justice Groups<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM2OTY2MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjY2MTY2NX0._jc-luWmLRd9-UnBFZgyZJTm33I9_3T6Ssz9nZ3lkVY/image.jpg?width=980" id="7082f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c602ad745e2c03d3c0175cf24139e96f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
ABC's TV sitcom Blackish aired two "monumental and timely episodes" this week.<p>The Walt Disney company announced Wednesday that it will donate $5 million to nonprofit groups fighting for social justice, starting with a $2 million donation to the NAACP. </p><p>"The killing of George Floyd has forced our nation to once again confront the long history of injustice that black people in America have suffered, and it is critical that we stand together, speak out and do everything in our power to ensure that acts of racism and violence are never tolerated," said Disney chief Bob Chapek in a statement. "This $5 million pledge will continue to support the efforts of nonprofit organizations such as the NAACP that have worked tirelessly to ensure equality and justice."</p><p>In a statement, the company pointed to its previous social justice initiatives, including providing "millions of dollars in grants to help students from underrepresented groups make the dream of higher education a reality, including $2.5 million to the United Negro College Fund." Disney also noted that it matches employee donations to "eligible organizations" and that on Tuesday it re-aired two "monumental and timely episodes" of <em>Black-ish </em>on its ABC television networks before a primetime special titled "America in Pain: What Comes Next?" </p><p>In its quarterly earnings released last month, Disney reported nearly $40 billion in revenue in the six months to March 28, 2020. Net income over the same period was down 68% from the year prior, however, as most of the company's business units have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.</p><p><em>— Sam Blake</em></p>
a16z VC firm launches fund to target diverse founders<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM2OTQ0MC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDkwMzg3MH0.dhLyHYGgwtjLRdt65OFroB4fgSdsiZTeTSSEG88d7Mw/image.png?width=980" id="a1f14" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7a1c9842c8f468c18e05cdfc2be667a5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Ben and Felicia Horowitz will match up to an additional $5,000,000 total in any other donations.<p>One of Silicon Valley's most prominent venture capital firms <a href="https://a16z.com/2020/06/03/talent-x-opportunity/" target="_blank">announced Wednesday</a> it is launching a new fund designed for entrepreneurs who have the talent, drive and ideas to build great businesses, but lack the background and resources to do so.</p><p>In a blog post, the firm says it has been working on the fund for six months. However, the timing of the news this week is fortunate for an industry with a <a href="https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/vc-firms-have-a-diversity-problem-do-they-care" target="_blank">serious diversity problem. </a><span></span></p><p>a16z plans to fund a small group of founders in the first year, then expand after that. The initial capital will come from $2.2 million in donations from partners. Ben and Felicia Horowitz will match up to an additional $5 from other donations as well. The firm will invest in exchange for equity in the business, but all returns will stay in the fund to finance future entrepreneurs, which aims to back products from underserved communities that also have an "interesting model, niche market, and/or a little traction to indicate the promise and potential."</p><p>"We're venture capitalists, not activists," the firm said in its post. "Entrepreneurship hasn't been accessible to everyone, but the fact remains that being an entrepreneur is one of the most powerful ways to own your own future, to increase mobility across time and place, to invent new ways of doing things, and to forge a new system. As we emerge from this tragic moment, let's build.</p><p><em>dot.LA co-founder and executive chairman Spencer Rascoff is a board partner at a16z.</em></p><p><em><span></span>— Ben Bergman </em></p>
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