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When recession struck the California economy, it eliminated more than a million jobs and, a new statistical report shows, it also cut workers' compensation coverage and benefit payouts.

The report from the Washington-based National Academy of Social Insurance says that in 2009, the number of California workers covered by workers' compensation for work-related illnesses and injuries dropped by 5.7 percent from the previous year to 14.4 million.

Similarly, wages covered by workers' compensation -- either insurance or employers' self-insurance funds -- dropped 5.6 percent to $738 billion. And workers' compensation benefits, both cash and medical care, declined by 1.6 percent to $9.3 billion.

Since recession hit harder in California than in most other states, the workers' compensation effects were more pronounced here than nationally, the report indicates. Nationwide, the number of workers covered by workers' compensation programs dropped 4.4 percent in 2009 and covered wages by 4.7 percent while benefits remained virtually unchanged.


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