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California’s job market is plunging and is not likely to recover soon, a new UCLA forecast predicts.

As the economic effects of the coronavirus worsen, the state’s unemployment rate may peak at 16.4% in the second quarter of this year, then gradually slacken. That would dwarf the 12.3% jobless rate in 2010, in the depths of the financial crisis.

But California’s unemployment will register double digits through 2021, Jerry Nickelsburg, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, said Friday. Even in the first quarter of 2022, nearly two years from now, the state’s joblessness will likely be as high as 8.5%, according to the university’s forecast. That would be more than twice as high as February’s 3.9% unemployment rate, before the effect of the economic shutdown registered.

“As with the U.S., employment in California will not return to its previous peak levels until late 2022,” the forecast suggested.

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