California state lawmakers unleashed their frustrations about the state’s unemployment system Thursday, demanding answers from an agency director about the problems their jobless constituents have endured trying to access the financial lifeline during the pandemic.
“We’ve never heard the type of suffering people are experiencing right now,” said Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “The feedback we’re getting is atrocious.”
The comments at a budget subcommittee hearing came hours after the U.S. Department of Labor released data showing California’s number of pandemic-induced unemployment claims had climbed to nearly 4.9 million — about 25 percent of California’s pre-pandemic workforce. The avalanche of claims has overwhelmed the state’s Employment Development Department and its aging technology systems, sending many desperate residents to lawmakers for help.