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California Accounts for Nearly 40% of US Job Gains in Latest Numbers; Hiring Expansion to Continue Over Summer as Vaccination Rates Rise

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Unemployment Rate Holds Steady As State Labor Force Increases

California’s labor market continued to expand at a rapid pace in April, with total nonfarm employment in the state growing by 101,800 positions over the month, according to an analysis released jointly by Beacon Economics and the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.  

April’s numbers came in below expectations at the national level, however, California accounted for 38% of the 266,000 net jobs added in the nation during the month. In addition to California’s strong monthly gains in April, March’s gains were revised up to 132,400 in the latest numbers, a 12,800 increase over the preliminary estimate of 119,600.

Over the past three months, the state’s economy has added close to 400,000 jobs, representing the fastest hiring surge since summer 2020. These gains are welcome since, in April 2021, there were still 1.41 million fewer people employed in California than in February 2020. Total nonfarm employment in the state has contracted 8.0% since that time. This compares unfavorably to the national picture, where the labor market shrunk by 5.4% over the same period. However, the rate of job growth in California in 2021 has outpaced the national economy. 

“Having seen sharper job losses compared to the nation in 2020, California’s outperformance in 2021 was expected,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics and the UCR Center for Forecasting. “With the state on course to reopen soon, and with the continued rollout of vaccines, the recent surge in hiring should continue over the summer.”   

California’s unemployment rate held steady at 9.0% in April, unchanged from the previous month, as the state’s labor force expanded by 33,600. California’s unemployment rate remains elevated relative to the 6.1% rate in the United States overall. Since February 2020, the state’s labor force has decreased by 478,800 workers, a 2.5% decline. 

Industry Profile

  • At the industry level, the largest jobs gains continue to occur in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. While California has made up significant ground in recent months, employment levels in many of these sectors remain far below their pre-pandemic levels.
  • Leisure and Hospitality led gains in April, with payrolls expanding by 62,800. Still, the sector has a long way to go to recover all of the jobs lost due to the economic downturn, with payrolls having fallen by 577,400 (-28.1%) since its previous peak in February 2020.
  • Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (15,600), Other Services (10,500), Health Care (10,300), Administrative Support (4,200), and Wholesale Trade (2,800).
  • A handful of sectors saw their payrolls decline in April. These include Information (-3,500), Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (-1,300), Real Estate. (-1,200), Management (-800), and Construction (-600).

Regional Profile

  • Regionally, job gains were led by Southern California. Los Angeles (MD) saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 20,800 during the month. Orange County (12,300), the Inland Empire (5,800), and San Diego (5,200) also saw their payrolls jump during the month. Since the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020, Los Angeles (MD) (-10.8%) has experienced the steepest job losses in the region, measured by percentage decrease, followed by Orange County (-8.7%), Ventura (-8.2%), San Diego (-8.1%), El Centro (-7.0%), and the Inland Empire (-4.6%).
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco (MD) experienced the largest increase, with payrolls expanding by 9,800 positions in April. San Jose (4,900), the East Bay (800), San Rafael (MD) (700), and Santa Rosa (700) also saw payrolls expand during the month. Since the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020, Napa (-11.1%) has had the steepest declines in the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by San Francisco (MD) (-11.0%), Santa Rosa (-10.5%), the East Bay (-8.9%), Vallejo (-8.0%), San Rafael (MD) (-8.0%), and San Jose (-7.4%).
  • In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 4,600 positions in April. Payrolls in Modesto (600), Fresno (400), Yuba (400), and Merced (300) increased steadily as well. Since the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020, Chico (-8.8%) has had the steepest declines, followed by Yuba (-8.5%), Bakersfield (-7.9%), Visalia (-7.1%), Hanford (-7.0%), Fresno (-6.2%), and Sacramento (-5.3%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara added the largest number of jobs, with payrolls increasing by 1,600 during the month. Santa Cruz (-200) and San Luis Obispo (-200) saw payrolls decline during the month, while payrolls remained unchanged in Salinas. Since the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020, Santa Cruz (-12.9%) shed positions at the fastest rate, followed by San Luis Obispo (-12.3%), Salinas (-9.3%), and Santa Barbara (-7.7%).

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

Career & Workplace

The City of Rancho Cucamonga Recognized as U.S. Best-in-Class Employer by Gallagher 

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Gallagher’s Best-in-Class Benchmarking Analysis Identifies U.S. Organizations That Excel in Optimizing Employee and Organizational Wellbeing 

The City of Rancho Cucamonga participated in Gallagher’s 2023 U.S. Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey and was identified as an organization that excelled in implementing successful strategies for managing people and programs. The City of Rancho Cucamonga was recognized for its comprehensive framework for strategically investing in benefits, compensation and employee communication to support the health, financial security and career growth of its employees at a sustainable cost structure. 

Designations like Gallagher’s Best-in-Class Employer help current and potential employees understand and appreciate an organization’s workplace culture and people strategy; important differentiators as employers compete for talent in today’s labor market. 

“This award is a testament to the collective dedication and unwavering commitment of our team, reflecting the high standards we uphold in fostering a workplace that thrives on innovation, belonging, and employee well-being.” Robert Neiuber, Senior Human Resources Director, City of Rancho Cucamonga. 

A U.S. Best-in-Class Employer, the City of Rancho Cucamonga was assigned points based on its relative performance in: 

  • Plan horizons for benefits and compensation strategies 
  • Extent of the wellbeing strategy 
  • Turnover rate for full-time equivalents (FTEs) 
  • Completion of a workforce engagement survey 
  • Use of an HR technology strategy and its level of sophistication 
  • Difference in healthcare costs over the prior year 
  • Use of a communication strategy 

The City of Rancho Cucamonga understands that high employee expectations haven’t budged in the changing labor market and have regularly examined their formula to attract and retain talent,” said William F. Ziebell, CEO of Gallagher’s Benefits & HR Consulting Division. “In doing so, the City of Rancho Cucamonga utilizes data, workforce feedback tools and clearly defined policies to provide competitive benefits and experiences that their employees value.” 

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Career & Workplace

California Labor Market Closes out 2023 with Modest Growth, but Expect Adjustments when Annual Revision Hits in March

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State’s Workforce Contracts Again; Unemployment Rate Ticks Up

California’s labor market grew modestly in the latest numbers, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. Total nonfarm employment in the state expanded by just 23,400 positions in December, however, the sum of California’s metropolitan areas showed a more robust increase of 55,100 positions. November’s gains were revised down to 8,100 in the latest numbers, a 1,200 decrease from the preliminary estimate of 9,300.

“Although job and labor force growth has been muted, we caution against reading too much into these figures because this is the last release before the annual benchmark revisions in March,” said Justin Niakamal, Research Manager at Beacon Economics.

As of December 2023, California had recovered all of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020, and there are now 508,100 more people employed in California compared to pre-pandemic February 2020. Total nonfarm employment in the state has grown 2.9% since that time compared to a 3.2% increase nationally. California increased payrolls by 1.7% from December 2022 to December 2023, matching the 1.7% increase nationally over the same period.

California’s unemployment rate rose to 5.1% in December 2023, up 0.2 percentage points from the previous month. The state’s unemployment rate remains elevated relative to the 3.7% rate in the United States overall. California is continuing to struggle with its labor supply, which fell by 3,600 in December. Since February 2020, the state’s labor force has fallen by 243,800 workers, a 1.2% decline. 

Industry Profile  

  • At the industry level, gains were mixed. Healthcare led payroll gains in December, with payrolls expanding by 9,100, an increase of 0.3% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains Healthcare payrolls are now 10.8% above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Government was the next best performing sector, adding 8,100 jobs, a month-over-month increase of 0.3%. However, with these gains Government payrolls are still 0.3%, or 28,400 jobs, below their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Leisure and Hospitality (7,100 or 0.3%), Education (4,100 or 1.0%), Manufacturing (2,600 or 0.2%), Other Services (1,300 or 0.2%), Wholesale Trade (1,200 or 0.2%), Retail Trade (1,100 or 0.1%), and Real Estate (1,100 or 0.4%).
  • Payrolls decreased in a handful of sectors in December. Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities experienced the largest payroll declines, with payrolls falling by 4,400, a decline of 0.5% on a month-over-month basis. Other sectors posting declines during the month were Administrative Support (-4,100 or -0.4%), Finance and Insurance (-2,200 or -0.4%), Information (-1,900 or -0.3%), Management (-400 or -0.2%), and Mining and Logging (-200 or -1.0%).

Regional Profile

  • Regionally, job gains were led by Southern California. The Los Angeles County (MD) saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 17,800 (04%) during the month. Orange County (6,800 or 0.4%), the Inland Empire (6,400 or 0.4%), San Diego (5,500 or 0.3%), Ventura (500 or 0.2%), and El Centro (200 or 0.3%) also saw their payrolls jump. Over the past year, Ventura (2.6%) experienced the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Orange County (2.1%), Los Angeles (MD) (2.1%), the Inland Empire (1.9%), El Centro (1.9%), and San Diego (1.5%).
  • In the Bay Area, San Francisco (MD) (6,500 or 0.5%) had the largest increase during the month. San Jose (3,000 or 0.3%), Napa (400 or 0.5%, Santa Rosa (400 or 0.2%), and San Rafael (MD) (200 or 0.2%) also saw payrolls expand. Over the past 12 months, Santa Rosa (2.9%) has enjoyed the fastest job growth in the region, followed by San Rafael (MD) (2.4%), the East Bay (1.9%), San Francisco (MD) (1.3%), Vallejo (1.3%), San Jose (1.1%), and Napa (0.8%).
  • In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 2,400 (0.2%) positions in December. Payrolls in Fresno (1,500 or 0.4%), Merced (600 or 0.9%), Modesto (600 or 0.3%), Madera (300 or 0.7%), Redding (200 or 0.3%), and Yuba (200 or 0.4%) also saw their payrolls jump during the month. Over the past year, Sacramento (2.8%) enjoyed the fastest growth, followed by Yuba (2.7%), Modesto (2.7%), Hanford (2.4%), Fresno (2.2%), Visalia (1.9%), Bakersfield (1.1%), Stockton (0.6%), Madera (0.5%), Chico (0.3%), Merced (-0.3%), and Redding (-1.6%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara (900 or 0.4%) added the largest number of jobs. Santa Cruz (500 or 0.5%) and San Luis Obispo (400 or 0.3%) also saw payrolls increase during the month. From December 2022 to December 2023, Salinas (4.61%) added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by Santa Barbara (3.4%), San Luis Obispo (2.7%), and Santa Cruz (2.4%).
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Business

The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce Announces the 2024 Human Resources Conference, led by Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo (AALRR)

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Uniting Leaders, Shaping Futures: Charting the Next Course in Human Resources

The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Insight HR Consulting and presented by Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR), announces the much-anticipated 2024 Human Resources Conference. Scheduled for February 15th, 2024, at the Jessie Turner Center, this event is set to be a landmark gathering for HR and business leaders.

Event Details:

  • Date: February 15th, 2024
  • Venue: Jessie Turner Center, [Full Address]
  • Title: 2024 2nd Annual Inland Empire HR Summit: Shaping the Future of Human Resources

The conference is hosted by The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Insight HR Consulting. AALRR, a leading full-service law firm, is the presenting sponsor, bringing their extensive legal expertise in employment and labor to the forefront of the event.

“We are thrilled to sponsor and present at the upcoming 2024 Human Resources Conference,” said Amber Solano, AALRR’s Private Labor and Employment Law Practice Group Chair. “With all of the recent changes in the law, we feel this is going to be a valuable event for human resource and business leaders throughout the region.”

The conference offers an invaluable platform for professionals to engage with evolving trends and innovations in HR, preparing them to lead in the changing world of work.

Special Highlights:

  • Renowned HR thought leaders as keynote speakers.
  • Networking opportunities with industry experts and peers.
  • A special focus session by AALRR on the evolving legal landscape in human resources.

“The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce is proud to collaborate with Insight HR consulting and leading speakers AALRR.  This partnership strengthens our commitment to delivering a conference that truly impacts the HR and Business community.” said Edward Ornelas, Jr., CEO.

For the event schedule, registration, and sponsorship details, please visit hr.iechamber.org

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