Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood by David Robb on July 20, 2020.
More than 230,000 Californians employed in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors have filed unemployment insurance claims since the coronavirus pandemic struck in mid-March, according to the state’s Employment Development Department. This includes more than 65,000 industry workers in Los Angeles County, 30,000 in Orange County and 25,000 in San Diego County, which together account for half of the state’s unemployed in the sector that includes everyone from ticket-takers to movie stars.
Prior to the pandemic, an average of 730 workers in this sector applied for unemployment benefits during the first nine weeks of 2020. That more than doubled in the week ending March 14, and then shot up to nearly 9,500 claims by March 21. The next week, claims skyrocketed to more than 46,000. Since then, the number of initial claims has fallen steadily, though in recent weeks there’s been an uptick, averaging about 7,500 claims a week over the past two months.
With the film and TV industry still struggling to get restarted, jobless workers will be losing the $600 a week they’ve been receiving, in addition to their regular state unemployment benefits, under the CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law March 27. …