JEDE COVID-19 Weekly Update - January 26 Edition


  • Unprecedented Surge in COVID-19 Cases Continues:   Below is the most current CalOES status update.

  • One-Stop for COVID-19 Business Guidance:  The California Labor Agency has launched a website to assist businesses in obtaining current information on COVID-19 guidance, including information from the state, local, and regional governments.  The website is currently being beta tested.  Try it out and submit feedback to the Labor Agency.

  • Completing the CARES Act Household Payments:  The US Department of Treasury announced plans to implement President Biden’s COVID-19 Economic Relief Executive Order calling for an “all-of-government effort to provide economic relief.” According to the announcement, the department will be addressing how to locate the 8 million households in the us who are eligible for, but have not yet received their $1,200+ in CARES Act funding from March 2020.   The announcement also noted that President Biden’s proposed American Rescue Plan calls for a $2,000 Economic Benefit Payment.

  • Fifteen Percent Increase in EBT Benefits:  The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced multiple efforts to expand nutrition assistance to families facing hunger die to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The USDA is increasing the Pandemic-EBT benefit by approximately 15%, providing more money for low-income families and millions of children missing meals due to school closures.   In addition, USDA called for recommendations on ways to increase Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to “all participants, especially lowest-income households and those struggling to afford a healthy diet for their families.”  The announcement also noted that President Biden’s proposed American Rescue Plan calls for:

    • Extending the 15% SNAP benefit increase

    • Investing another $3 billion through the SNAP for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to help vulnerable mothers and kids get the food they need

    • Look for creative ways to support restaurants as a critical link in the food supply chain to help feed families in need

    • Provide U.S. Territories with $1 billion in additional nutrition assistance funding

  • New Online Tools for Tax Preparers:  The US Internal Revenue Service launched a new online option to support tax professionals to remotely obtain signatures from individual and business clients and submit authorization forms electronically.  According to the announcement, tax professionals must have a Secure Access account, including a current username and password, or create an account in advance of submitting an online authorization form.

  • Golden State Stimulus:  The California Budget & Policy Center, among other stakeholders, is advocating in support of the Golden State Stimulus, which directs $600 payments to Californians eligible for the CalEITC, the state’s earned income tax credit for Californians with low incomes. The Legislature could take action on this proposal soon.  The two primary reasons the California Budget & Policy Center is highlighting:

  • Removing Prohibition on Faith-Based Organizations Serving as a SBA Financial Intermediary: The US Small Business Administration released a proposed rule for public comment.  The new rule would remove regulatory provisions that exclude certain faith-based organizations from seven business loan and disaster assistance programs, including: Intermediary Lending Program, Business Loan programs (7(a), Microloan and 504; Economic Injury Disaster Loan program), Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and Immediate Disaster Assistance Program.  Comments are due February 18, 2021.


  • Special Advisor for Federal Economic Policy and Fiscal Issues:  Governor Newsom appointed Samuel F. Himel, of Washington, D.C., as Special Advisor for Federal Economic Policy and Fiscal Issues in the Office of the Governor.  Prior to this appointment, Himel served as Special Advisor for the California Department of Finance since April 2020. Himel was a Law Clerk at Arnold & Porter from 2019 to 2020, where he was a Summer Associate in 2018. He was a Legal Extern at the Office of the New York State Attorney General in 2018 and a Legal Intern for the Office of Commissioner Terrell McSweeny at the Federal Trade Commission in 2017. He held multiple positions at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President from 2014 to 2016, including Research Assistant and Research Economist. He was a Research Assistant at the Institute for Defense Analyses from 2013 to 2014. Himel earned a Juris Doctor degree from the New York University School of Law. 

  • Anna Alvarado:  The California EDGE Coalition expressed their congratulations and shared that their Policy Director, Anna Alvarado, was wed to Frankie Flores on New Year's Day. “We wish you a lifetime of love, growth, and new adventures together.”  Congratulations from all of us too!


  • December US Employment Data:  US Bureau of Labor Statistics released national-level employment data for December 2020.   According to the report, total US nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000 jobs in December, reflecting a 6.7% unemployment rate (down 8% since the high in April 2020).  In releasing the data, the BLS stated:  “The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and efforts to contain the pandemic. In December, job losses in leisure and hospitality and in private education were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.”

  • December California Employment Data (most recent):  The Employment Development Department released state-level data for December 2020.   California’s unemployment rate was 9.0% in December. Nonfarm payrolls contracted by -52,200 jobs.  According to the announcement, California has regained more than 44% of the 2,615,800 nonfarm jobs that were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April.  Unemployment among Blacks and Latinx were up from the 11% of the prior month, 12.2% and 11.7% respectively.

  • Beacon’s Analysis of December Employment Data:  Beacon Economic has released its monthly employment report, which links econometric predictions to data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the California Employment Development Department.  The Beacon Employment Report, released in partnership with the UC Riverside Business School Center for Forecasting, uses seasonally adjusted numbers to identify trends and insights within data.

  • State Unemployment Benefit Data: The Employment Development Department (EDD) released new unemployment insurance data for California during the week ending January 9, 2021.   Among other information, EDD reports the following: 

    • 70, 450 initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PAU) claims were filed for the week ending January 9, 2021.

    • Over 10.5 million initial unemployment benefit claims have been filed with EDD between March 14 and January 9, 2021.

    • $113 billion has been paid to out-of-work Californians since the start of the pandemic.

  • Great Plates Delivered:  The Great Plates Delivered program provides three meals a day to qualifying seniors.  FEMA granted a 30-day extension to allow the program to continue to February 6, 2021.  Interested restaurants and food providers are encouraged to fill out this form:   

Great Plates Delivered (1/22)
Meals served as of 1/06
Individuals Served This Week
Food Providers Contracted
Data received from Great Plates Data Portal updated on Sundays.



  • Issues Impacting Ports and Supply Chain:  The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association releases a weekly update on issues impacting California ports and supply chain.  “Into mid-January of 2021, the ports have continued to experience increasing levels of cargo throughput. Despite the efforts by all sectors of the supply chain, the pandemic continues to dramatically impact the goods movement system in California and nationally. U.S. imports, normally spread throughout the year, were packed into the second half of the 2020 calendar year. This shortened, concentrated resupply period, more than any other factor, has caused problems throughout the goods movement system. To address the congestion in the supply chain and process the ongoing influx of cargo, marine terminals have taken extraordinary steps to increase throughput, although with congestion also at warehouses, missed appointments by trucking companies, and equipment fluidity reduced, the options become limited. Relieving the congestion will require every part of the supply chain working together.”   Prepared by

  • PPIC Commentary on Recovery:  The Public Policy Institute of California released an editorial that was published in CalMatters regarding the state’s challenge in achieving an equitable economic recovery, Commentary: An Equitable Recovery for California Requires Two Key Strategies   “Given the severe economic distress, how can policymakers help our state avoid the pitfalls of previous recoveries, which left low-income Californians further behind? An equitable recovery requires two key strategies: First, target critical support to those most affected in the near term. Second, help people climb the economic ladder in the long term.”

  • Real Cost of Attending Community College:  The Institute for College Access & Success issued a new blog post, Diving Deeper into College Affordability Gaps in California: The Real Total Costs of Community College Students   “As the state debates how and whether to reform and strengthen state financial aid, it is critical that stakeholders start with an understanding of the affordability challenges students are facing, and the data used to help define what the challenges are.” Thank you to the EDGE Coalition for sharing this blog post.  Two of the reasons for the understatement of costs include:

    • Federal cost data for students who live off-campus with family are incomplete. Specifically, they do not include room and board expenses despite the reality that low-income students often help their families pay for living costs.

    • Federal data overstates the share of students who live at home with family (whose costs are erroneously understated) which further results in the understate the overall costs for CCC students.

  • State Roadmap for Economic Recovery:  National Governors Association issues “State Roadmap for Economic Recovery” to help state leaders respond holistically to the unemployment crisis as well as to recover and build resilience in the post-pandemic economy.  The Roadmap includes, a recovery framework and a menu of policy strategies; a selection of state examples and additional resources; and four state case studies featuring new details about how state peers are implementing this framework and policy strategies,

  • LAO Analysis of the Small Business Grant and Golden State Stimulus:  

    • Small Business Grants:  The California Legislative Analysist has released its analysis of the Small Business Grant proposal in the Governor’s proposed 2021-22 budget. Highlights and findings include:

      • The California Relief Grant program was created in December 2020 with $500 million in pandemic-related emergency funds. This program awards grants up to $25,000 to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. The Governor proposes to expand the program by $575 million General Fund in the current year.

      • The aim of the small business grants--providing targeted financial assistance to businesses affected by the pandemic--is good but it is not clear whether the program is achieving that goal. The administration has not made available key details about how this program is being administered. Further, applicants and other stakeholders have raised several concerns.

      • While the rapid launch of the small business grants program was reasonable in the context of the pandemic, we think it would now be prudent to defer immediate action on expanding it until the Legislature can get more information about the existing program and consider ways to improve it, as outlined in our handout.

    • Golden State Stimulus: The California Legislative Analysist has released its analysis of the Golden State Stimulus proposal in the Governor’s proposed 2021-22 budget.  Highlights and findings include:

      • The Governor's budget proposes a one-time $600 tax refund to taxpayers who received the California Earned Income Tax (EITC) for 2019 and taxpayers who file using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and will receive the EITC for 2020. The proposal, known as the Golden State Stimulus, is estimated to cost $2.4 billion General Fund.

      • The pandemic has led to substantial job losses among low-wage workers. At the same time, unprecedented federal relief programs have provided tens of billions of dollars to help mitigate the pandemic's effect. However, undocumented workers have been left out of federal relief programs.

      • In our view, using one-time money for pandemic relief makes sense. But rather than focusing on economic stimulus, the state should focus its limited resources on filling in the gaps in federal relief.

      • We recommend the Legislature consider a more targeted approach by focusing on groups who have not benefited from federal relief. As an example, relative to the Governor's proposal, the Legislature could provide a larger refund ($1,800) to all ITIN filers with incomes below $30,000. Unlike state EITC recipients, ITIN filers have not received federal aid during the pandemic. This more targeted approach likely would cost between $700 million and $1 billion.

      • With the remaining funds, we suggest the Legislature provide one-time assistance to other economically vulnerable groups, including undocumented workers who do not file taxes using an ITIN and recipients of the state's existing safety net programs.

  • US and China Economies Expected to Rebound by 2022:  The International Monetary Fund released an updated economic forecast and states that the IMF “expects the US and China to be by far the most successful at steering their economies through the pandemic, leaving Europe and other emerging markets trailing in their wake.  In its updated forecasts for the global economy, the fund predicts that by 2022 recoveries in the US and China will leave their economies no more than 1.5 per cent smaller than projected before the pandemic.” Overall, the global economy is projected to grow 5.5% in 2021 and 4.2% in 2022.  The global growth contraction for 2020 is estimated at -3.5%, with the US down -3.4% from the prior year and China +2.3%.


  • Forest Management Incentive Available:  The US Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $12 million for use in making payments to forest landowners with land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in exchange for their implementing healthy forest management practices. According to the announcement, existing CRP participants may sign-up for the Forest Management Incentive to help finance the cost of proper tree thinning and other practices.  CRP sign-ups began on January 19, 2020, with no deadline currently announced.

  • SEED Grants Available:  The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and Employment Training Panel released an RFP for Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development Grant proposals. Funding can be used to support social entrepreneurship activities of immigrants and limited English proficient individuals, regardless of their immigration status, including micro-grants, training, outreach, and technical assistance.  Eligible applicants include non-profit community based organizations.  The proposal deadline is March 3, with two webinars scheduled on February 2 and February 4.

  • H-1B One Workforce Grant Program:  The US Department of Labor announced the award of $145 million training investment through the H-1B One Workforce Grant Program, including $4.5 million to the United Auto Workers-Labor Employment and Training Corporation in Cerritos, California.   Grant funding will be used for “upskilling the current workforce and training the workforce of the future for critical industries such as IT, advanced manufacturing and transportation.”

  • Lab-to-Market Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem Prize Competition:  The US Small Business Administration and the National Science and Technology Council’s Lab-to-Market subcommittee awarded $330,000 in prizes to the winners of the new Lab-to-Market (L2M) Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem Prize Competition.  The L2M prize competition’s goal is to encourage entrepreneurship and inclusive, sustainable growth by developing and commercializing technology to improve access to resources.  LabStart (MXV) from Sacramento received a $25,000 Visionary award for the “most creative and actionable ideas for creating a more inclusive R&D innovation ecosystem for the future.”


[This is a “quick-source” section that includes new and previously provided information.]


  • Tracking UI Benefits:  The California Employment Development Department (EDD) launched identity verification technology to help address the backlog of unprocessed unemployment benefit applications, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. On January 22, 2021, EDD released this report on the status of addressing the backlog:   Progress in eliminating the backlog are also tracked through these two data dashboards:

    • Unemployment Initial Claims Backlog Dashboard:  As of January 20, 2020, 916, 531 individuals have been waiting more than 21 days for an initial payment or to be notified that they do not qualify for benefits.

    • Unemployment Continued Claims Backlog Dashboard:  As of January 20, 2020, 24, 488 individuals received at least one payment and are now waiting more than 21 days for further processing of payment or disqualification in this week-by-week eligibility based program.

  • EDD Gives Fraud Update:  The California Employment Development Department (EDD) issued an update on the department’s efforts to get unemployment benefits paid while stopping fraudulent claims.   According to the announcement, between March 2020 and January 16, 2021, EDD confirmed that 9.7% of the $114 billion of the total payments have been made to fraudulent claims. EDD also stated that up to an additional 17% of payments ($20 billion) made have been made to “potentially fraudulent claims.” These 17% of claims are under investigation.  “EDD estimates that the department’s existing fraud screening measures and new security protections put into place last fall prevented up to $60 billion in payments to fraudulent claims…The EDD estimates that roughly 95 percent of the known fraudulent payments in California were made to PUA claims. The remaining 5 percent is associated with California’s existing Unemployment Insurance (UI) program.”

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation:  The US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration issued new and updated guidance to states on the implementation of the unemployment insurance programs included contained in the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020, which is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021:

    • Initial overarching guidance is issued to states regarding a range of unemployment insurance programs, including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides UI benefits to individuals who are not generally eligible for traditional unemployment benefits, including gig workers.

    • Updated guidance is released for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) programs The initial FPUC program provided $600 a week in supplemental compensation and expired July 31, 2020. The FPUC reauthorization provides $300 per week beginning after Dec. 26, 2020, and ending on or before March 14, 2021. According to the announcement, the FPUC is not payable during the gap in authorization, that is, weeks of unemployment ending after July 31, 2020, through weeks of unemployment ending on or before Dec. 26, 2020.   Guidance:

    • California’s Implementation of these New Federal Guidelines

  • Look for Economic Impact Payments in the Mail:  The IRS began issuing the second round of EIPs through direct deposit on December 29, followed by the mailing of paper checks. According to the January 7 announcement, individuals who do not receive a direct deposit should watch their mail for either a paper check or a prepaid debit card.


[This is a “quick-source” section that includes new and previously provided information.]
(4558-DR-CA) Wildfire - SBA Disaster Assistance (1/22)
CA Loans (EIDL) Approved
Dollar Amount of CA Loans (EIDL) Approved      
CA Home Loans Approved
Dollar Amount of CA Home Loans Approved
Total Dollars Approved


(4569-DR-CA) Wildfire - SBA Disaster Assistance (1/22)
CA Loans (EIDL) Approved
Dollar Amount of CA Loans (EIDL) Approved      
CA Home Loans Approved
Dollar Amount of CA Home Loans Approved
Total Dollars Approved
  • Small Business Disaster Loan Guarantee Program:  The Small Business Finance Center at the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank administers a credit enhancement (loan guarantee) as a way to encourage traditional and mission-driven lenders to loan money to small businesses who have been impacted by a disaster.   Below is the most recent program activity.


State Small Business Disaster Loan Guarantee Program (December 31, 2020)
Conditionally Approved
Loan Amount
Guarantee Amount
Amount Encumbered
The IBank provides the Joint Legislative Budget Committee an update monthly.
  • SBA Weekly Lending Report on Race and Ethnicity of Clients:  The US Small Business Administration’s most recent weekly lending report for its core SBA products is for the week ending January 8, 2021.  Information includes race, ethnicity, gender, and veteran participation in the SBA 7(a), 504, and Advantage Loan Programs.  


JEDE maintains a list of upcoming and on-demand webinars on our website.  Upcoming webinars are listed here ( and on-demand webinars can be found at  These webinars cover a range of topics, including federal disaster programs, marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and accessing international markets.

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