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Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department

Demand for Unemployment Benefits in 2011

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) paid out $17.1 billion in unemployment benefits to 1.2 million jobless Californians in 2011. And while that averages to about $66 million a day, economists today are cautiously optimistic that next year will see a slowdown in the unprecedented numbers that exemplify this Great Recession.

Jobs have been added every month for the past five months, and the unemployment rate continues to drop. At a current 11.1 percent, the unemployment rate is the state’s lowest in almost three years.

Even so, demand for benefits is expected to remain high in 2012. In 2011, the EDD issued 33.2 million UI payments equaling $17.1 billion in benefits.

“Last year, the numbers were staggering, the need undeniable,” said Pam Harris, Director of the EDD. “I’m very proud of everyone here at EDD who worked hard to help those in need. And in the upcoming year, EDD will continue to work tirelessly to provide financial lifelines until this economy recovers.”

Billions Injected Back into the Economy in 2011

The $17.1 billion paid to the jobless last year acted as a stimulus package. It jump-started economies and pumped dollars back into communities. When claimants spent their unemployment benefits dollars on items like housing, clothing, food, and gas, they provided instant cash infusions into local economies still suffering from relentless economic pressures.

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) estimates the economic multiplier is $2 for every dollar paid out in UI benefits, so that’s about $34 billion put back into the general economy last year.

By the Numbers

EDD made these improvements and others in 2011:

As 2012 unfolds, the EDD will continue to improve its systems to give clients easier and better access in starting and managing their UI claims.

For more information on UI and EDD innovations, visit the EDD website.