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Unemployment claims drop, but Bay Area tech firms prep layoffs

SAN JOSE — Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began — but Silicon Valley tech companies and at least one big services firm that caters to the tech sector have prepped new layoffs.

In November alone, Hitachi Vantara, Boston Scientific, Marvell Semiconductor, and PayPal have revealed plans for job cuts for their operations in Silicon Valley, according to official state filings.

Despite the improvement in unemployment claims in California, the disclosures of tech industry layoffs coupled with the reality that weekly jobless filings remain far higher than what is typical in the Golden State are disquieting reminders that the economy in the state and the Bay Area remains feeble.

California workers filed 129,700 first-time claims for unemployment benefits during the week that ended on Nov. 28, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

The latest jobless claims totals in California were down 38,500 from the unemployment filings for the week that ended on Nov. 21, when 168,200 California workers filed for jobless benefits.

The totals for the week of Nov. 28 were the lowest since 57,600 California workers filed for unemployment benefits during the week ending on March 14, which was when state and local government agencies began to impose business shutdowns to combat the coronavirus.

Nine months later, business shutdowns appear certain to continue and perhaps even intensify.

The situation is disturbing enough that a growing number of companies and organizations are warning that any new major shutdowns might force them to keep their doors closed permanently if government agencies impose severe closures and restrictions in the quest to battle the deadly bug.

 

In the most recent round of tech layoffs, according to official filings that the state Employment Development Department posted in November:

— Hitachi Vantara said it was eliminating 148 jobs in Santa Clara.

— Boston Scientific said it has decided to close an office in Menlo Park, resulting in job cuts for 126 workers.

— Marvell Semiconductor is cutting 120 positions at its head offices in Santa Clara.

— PayPal is cutting 56 jobs at one of its sites in north San Jose.

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