(CALMATTERS) – California may have reopened, but things are still going south at the Employment Development Department. According to figures released Thursday, the number of unresolved claims pending EDD action for more than 21 days topped 230,000 as of June 19 — a significant uptick from the nearly 223,000 claims backlogged the week before. When you include claims pending certification from jobless Californians, the total backlog tops 1.1 million — a figure essentially unchanged from October 2020. Meanwhile, another 65,000 Californians filed new jobless claims for the week ending June 19, according to federal data released Thursday. That’s a slight decrease from the week before, but it represents nearly 17% of the nation’s total jobless claims — even though California makes up less than 12% of the civilian labor force, said Michael Bernick, a former EDD director and attorney at Duane Morris.

“We’ve entered a new phase in pandemic unemployment in California, in which nearly all businesses are formally open, but most workers who can work remotely are not physically coming back to their workplaces. Many other workers are remaining on the labor market sidelines.” Michael Bernick, a former EDD director

Many industries — especially those that employ low-wage workers — are struggling to fill open positions. The latest example: Less than half of Disneyland’s 32,000 employees have returned to work.