Unemployed Californians Hopeless About Getting Jobs Back: Study

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A new study finds more unemployed Californians are starting to lose hope they’ll ever get their old jobs back. 

Some of those in the latest filings for unemployment have been laid off twice after so many months of COVID closures and researchers say pessimism is setting in.

“I’m normally optimistic," said Barbara Bernard who says this is the first time she and her colleagues have had to look for work since the Dot-com bubble burst and she’s not sure her old job is ever coming back.

"There’s other folks like myself who can’t find a job and I’m looking daily," said Bernard.

When the pandemic shut down first hit, a new study from the California Policy Lab says 80% of Californians filing for unemployment were hopeful they’d eventually go back to their old jobs but now, hope is fading.

"Everybody was harboring some hope that despite the bad news," said Professor Til Von Wachter from the California Policy Lab. "We could hunker down and beat it like some of the Europeans and Asians, but now reality has set in.

Wachter says the end of the COVID relief bill and the $600 extra it provided each week is really going to hurt.

"When we looked at the numbers, we found that without the $600, about half had claims that put them under the federal poverty level," said Wachter.

He says it may mean they will have to retrain and look at other fields. Something Bernard says she’s already doing.

"You can’t be too picky right now," she said. "I have to lower my standards and my hourly rate, and realize this will just be a stepping stone."

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