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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%).

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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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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Career & Workplace

California Accounts for More than One-Quarter of All Jobs Added in the Nation

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State’s Workforce Contracts Again; Unemployment Rate Ticks Up

 California’s labor market grew solidly in the latest numbers, with total nonfarm employment in the state expanding by 40,200 positions during October, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. Indeed, California accounted for over 26% of all the jobs added in the United States in October. Moreover, September’s gains were revised up to 14,400, a 5,700 increase from the preliminary estimate of 8,700.

“Despite the strikes in Hollywood, Los Angeles County led the job gains in the state during the month,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics. “Now that the strikes have ended, it should help fuel positive momentum in California’s labor market as we head towards the end of the year.”

There are now 442,410 more people employed in the state compared to February 2020, the pre-pandemic peak. Total nonfarm employment in the state has grown 2.5% since that time, compared to a 3.0% increase nationally. California increased payrolls by 1.6% from October 2022 to October 2023, trailing the 1.9% increase nationally over the same period.

California’s unemployment rate rose to 4.8% in October 2023, up 0.1 percentage-points from the previous month; the state’s unemployment rate remains elevated relative to the 3.9% rate in the United States overall. California continues to struggle with its labor supply, which fell by 11,100 in October, a decrease of 0.1% on a month-over-month basis. Since February 2020, the state’s labor force has fallen by 227,300 workers, a 1.2% decline.

Industry Profile  

  • At the industry level, job gains were mixed. The Health Care sector led the way in October, expanding payrolls by 13,400, an increase of 0.75% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains, Health Care payrolls are now 9.7% above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Leisure and Hospitality was the next best performing sector, adding 5,100 jobs, a month-over-month increase of 0.2%. With these gains, Leisure and Hospitality payrolls are now 0.4%, or 7,400 jobs, above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Construction (4,500 or 0.5%), Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (4,500 or 0.5%), Manufacturing (3,400 or 0.3%), Government (2,400 or 0.1%), Administrative Support (2,200 or 0.2%), Other Services (2,000 or 0.3%), and Retail Trade (1,900 or 0.1%).
  • Payrolls decreased in a handful of sectors in October. Finance and Insurance saw the largest declines, with payrolls falling by 1,000, a drop of 0.2% on a month-over-month basis. Other sectors posting declines during the month were Education (-200) and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (-200).

Regional Profile

  • Regionally, job gains were led by Southern California. Los Angeles (MD) saw the largest increase, with payrolls growing by 11,100 (0.2%) during the month. Orange County (4,000 or 0.2%), San Diego (4,000 or 0.3%), the Inland Empire (3,700 or 0.2%), Ventura (1,100 or 0.3%), and El Centro (200 or 0.3%) also saw their payrolls increase. Over the past year, Ventura (2.2%) has enjoyed the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Orange County (2.1%), El Centro (1.9%), San Diego (1.7%), Los Angeles (MD) (1.6%), and the Inland Empire (1.4%).
  • In the Bay Area, growth was mixed. San Francisco (MD) (4,000 or 0.3%) experienced the largest increase during the month. Napa (700 or 1.0%) and Santa Rosa (400 or 0.2%) also saw payrolls expand. On the other hand, payrolls declined in Vallejo (-900 or -0.6%), the East Bay (-500 or -0.0%), and San Jose (-400 or -0.0%). Over the past 12 months, San Rafael (MD) (3.6%) has experienced the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Santa Rosa (3.1%), the East Bay (1.5%), San Francisco (MD) (1.3%), Vallejo (1.1%), San Jose (1.0%), and Napa (0.7%).
  • In the Central Valley, Sacramento enjoyed the largest monthly increase, expanding payrolls by 3,200 (0.3%) positions in October. Payrolls in Modesto (2,200 or 1.2%), Fresno (2,000 or 0.5%), Bakersfield (1,600 or 0.5%), Merced (600 or 0.9%), Visalia (500 or 0.4%), Madera (200 or 0.5%), Chico (100 or 0.1%), Hanford (100 or 0.2%), and Yuba (100 or 0.2%) also expanded during the month. On the other hand, payrolls in Stockton (-400 or -0.1%) and Redding (-100 or -0.1%) fell. Over the past year, Yuba (3.2%) has seen the fastest growth, followed by Hanford (2.9%), Modesto (2.7%), Sacramento (2.1%), Visalia (1.8%), Fresno (1.6%), Bakersfield (1.5%), Chico (1.4%), Stockton (0.6%), Madera (0.0%), Redding (-1.4%), and Merced (-2.5%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Santa Cruz (500 or 0.5%) and Salinas (500 or 0.3%) added the largest number of jobs. San Luis Obispo (200 or 0.2%) and Santa Barbara (100 or 0.0%) also saw payrolls increase during the month. From October 2022 to October 2023, Salinas (4.4%) has added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by San Luis Obispo (3.8%), Santa Cruz (2.3%), and Santa Barbara (2.2%).
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