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California’s Labor Market Recovery Continues… But State Labor Force Contracts For Second Consecutive Month



Half of California’s Unemployed Call Their Lay Off “Temporary”


California’s labor market recovery continued in August, with total nonfarm employment in the state expanding by 101,900 positions, according to an analysis released jointly by Beacon Economics and the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. 

One ostensibly positive sign is that the state’s unemployment rate fell to 11.4% in August, a 2.1-percentage-point decline relative to July, although this remains a far cry from the 3.9% rate enjoyed one year ago. Moreover, the unemployment rate fell for the wrong reasons. The month-over-month decline was aided by a decline in the state’s labor force, which contracted by 117,100 during the month, the second consecutive monthly decrease. From a year-over-year perspective, the state’s labor force has declined by 3.7%, a steeper drop relative to the 1.9% decline in the nation overall.

Since February, the number of people looking for work in the state has fallen by 807, 000, a sign that many workers have become discouraged and have stopped actively looking for employment. 

A possibly better sign is that 50% of the state’s unemployed workers report their layoff as temporary, and that they should be returning to work in the coming months. Notably, in April more than 70% of the state’s workers described their unemployment in these terms.    

Key Findings:

  • Government was responsible for the majority of the state’s job gains in August, boosting payrolls by 66,100. Census workers employed by the Federal Government were responsible for the bulk of these, with the Federal Government increasing payrolls by 37,100 during the month. Local Government also had a strong month, with payrolls expanding by 30,700 in August, largely a result of teachers and educational workers returning to their jobs. 
  • This means that private sector positions grew very modestly in August, increasing by just 35,800 during the month. Growth in private sector employment was led by Professional, Scientific & Technical Services (11,800), Administrative Support (9,700), and Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities (9,600). “With respect to private sector job growth, this was a disappointing month,”  said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics and the UCR Center for Forecasting. “To place this month’s figures in perspective, if we continue to add jobs at this level, it will take until 2022 to return the labor market to the position we were in in February of this year.”
  • A handful of sectors shed jobs in August, largely a result of the re-issuance of public health mandates in many parts of the state. Leisure and Hospitality shed the most jobs, decreasing payrolls by 14,600 during the month. Other sectors posting sizeable declines were Other Services, which includes hair and nail salons (-5,700), Information (-4,300), and Management (-2,100). With public health mandates easing in September, these sectors should see a resurgence in next month’s figures. They have been the hardest hit sectors in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Leisure and Hospitality (-31.2%), Other Services (-22.1%), and Information (-9.3%) leading in jobs losses, year-over-year, in percentage terms. 
  • Regionally, job gains were spread fairly evenly across the state, but led by Southern California. San Diego saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 23,400 during the month. The Inland Empire (12,200), Los Angeles (MD) (7,200), Ventura (2,700), and Orange County (1,400) also added to their payrolls jump during the month. Over the past year, Orange County (-11.2%) has experienced the steepest job losses in the region, measured by percentage decrease, followed by Los Angeles (MD) (-9.5%), San Diego (-9.0%), the Inland Empire (-8.6%), and Ventura (-7.7%).
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco (MD) experienced the largest increase, with payrolls expanding by 10,100 positions in August. The East Bay (9,900), San Jose (6,100), and Vallejo (2,600) also saw payrolls expand during the month. From a year-over-year perspective, the East Bay (-12.0%) has had the steepest declines in the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by San Rafael (MD) (-10.9%), Napa (-10.3%), San Francisco (MD) (-10.3%), and Vallejo (-10.1%).
  •  In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 11,500 positions in August. Payrolls in Fresno (5,700), Stockton (4,800), Bakersfield (4,600), Chico (2,100), and (Madera (1,300) increased steadily as well. Over the last year, Yuba (-12.7%) had the steepest declines followed by Modesto (-9.3%), Chico (8.6%), Bakersfield (-8.5%), Stockton (-8.4%), Sacramento (-8.4%), and Visalia (-8.4%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara added the largest number of jobs, with payrolls increasing by 4,500 during the month. Payrolls in Santa Cruz (3,700), San Luis Obispo (1,700), and Salinas (500) also increased during the month. From a year-over-year perspective, San Luis Obispo (-12.0%) shed positions at the fastest rate, followed by Salinas (-11.2%), Santa Cruz (-10.8%), and Santa Barbara (-9.0%).

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

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Career & Workplace

California Continues to Struggle with Labor Supply as Employment Expands Modestly



State’s Unemployment Rate Remains Highest In Nation

California’s labor market expanded modestly in April, with total nonfarm employment in the state growing by 5,200 positions over the month, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. March’s gains were revised down to 18,200 in the latest numbers, a 10,100 decline from the preliminary estimate of 28,300.

As of April 2024, California has recovered all of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020, and there are now 314,300 more people employed in the state compared to February 2020. Total nonfarm employment has grown 1.8% over this time compared to a 3.9% increase in the United States overall. California increased payrolls by 1.2% from April 2023 to April 2024, trailing the 1.8% increase nationally over the same period.

The state’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.3% in April 2024, unchanged from the previous month. California’s unemployment rate is the highest in the nation and remains elevated relative to the 3.9% rate in the United States as a whole. The state continues to struggle with its labor supply, which remained essentially unchanged in April (declining by a negligible 100). Since February 2020, California’s labor force has fallen by -246,200 workers, a -1.3% decline. In comparison, over the past twelve months the nation’s labor force has increased by 0.8%. 

Industry Profile  

  • At the industry level, job gains were mixed in April. Health Care led the way with payrolls expanding by 10,100, an increase of 0.4% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains Health Care payrolls are now 13.6% above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (3,700 or 0.4%), Leisure and Hospitality (3,100 or 0.2%), Government (2,600 or 0.1%), Education (1,800 or 0.4%), Retail Trade (1,000 or 0.1%), and Wholesale Trade (400 or 0.1%).
  • Payrolls decreased a handful of sectors in April. Construction experienced the largest declines, with payrolls falling by -6,000, a contraction of -0.6% on a month-over-month basis. Note that this decline was largely due to late season storms affecting construction projects across the state.
  • Other sectors posting significant declines during the month were Manufacturing (-5,300 or -0.4%), Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (-3,600 or -0.3%), Real Estate (-700 or -0.2%), Finance and Insurance (-700 or -0.1%), Administrative Support (-600 or -0.1%), and Information (-600 or -0.1%).

Regional Profile

  • Regionally, job gains were led by Southern California. Los Angeles (MD) saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 5,700 (0.2%) during the month. The Inland Empire (2,600 or 0.2%) and San Diego (1,200 or 0.1%) also saw their payrolls jump during the month. However, payrolls fell in Orange County (-2,700 or -0.2%), Ventura (-500 or -0.2%), and El Centro (-2,200 or -0.3%). Over the past year, El Centro (1.9%) has had the fastest job growth in the region, followed by the Inland Empire (1.5%), Ventura (1.4%), Orange County (1.1%), San Diego (0.8%), and Los Angeles (MD) (0.6%).
  • In the Bay Area, the East Bay experienced the largest increase, with payrolls expanding by 2,600 (0.2%) positions in April. San Rafael (MD) (200 or 0.2%) and Napa (100 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls increase during the month. However, San Francisco (MD) (-1,700 or -0.1%), Santa Rosa (-600 or -0.3%), and Vallejo (-600 or -0.2%) experienced payroll declines during the month. Over the past 12 months, Vallejo (3.0%) enjoyed the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Santa Rosa (2.3%), Napa (2.2%), San Rafael (MD) (1.6%), the East Bay (0.9%), San Jose (0.2%), and San Francisco (MD) (-0.8%).
  • In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 900 (0.1%) positions in April. Payrolls in Yuba (400 or 0.8%), Bakersfield (300 or 0.1%), Fresno (300 or 0.1%), and Visalia (100 or 0.1%) increased as well. However, payrolls fell in Stockton (-500 or -0.2%), Modesto (-200 or -0.1%), Merced (-200 or -0.3%), Redding (-100 or -0.1%), and Hanford (-100 or -0.2%). Over the past year, Madera (5.7%) had the fastest growth, followed by Yuba (4.2%), Merced (3.7%), Modesto (3.6%), Sacramento (2.5%), Hanford (2.4%), Redding (2.3%), Fresno (2.2%), Visalia (2.1%), Stockton (2.0%), Chico (1.5%), and Bakersfield (1.1%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Salinas (200 or 0.1%) and Santa Cruz (200 or 0.2%) added the largest number of jobs during the month. Santa Barbara (-100 or -0.1%) saw payrolls decline. From April 2023 to April 2024, Salinas (1.9%) has added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by Santa Cruz (1.6%), Santa Barbara (0.8%), and San Luis Obispo (0.5%).
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Career & Workplace

Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity (IEGO) Announces 2024 Priorities



Strategic Vision: Prioritizing Sustainable Growth and Enhanced Opportunities in the Inland Region

The Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity (IEGO), a collaborative organization dedicated to fostering economic growth, has announced its 2024 strategic priorities designed to create a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable economy for Southern California’s Inland Empire. Among its immediate priorities include its role in Governor Newsom’s California Jobs First regional jobs strategy.

“As one of the California Jobs First statewide collaboratives, IEGO is committed to engaging a wide ranging and diverse group of stakeholders in our economic development focus so that we can improve the quality of life for all residents across the region,” said IEGO Executive Director Matthew Mena.

IEGO’s strategy is critical. While Inland Southern California remains one of California’s top job growth markets, it also ranks as having the lowest average weekly wages according to employment data for the nation’s 50 largest county job markets as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The IEGO 2024 priorities are designed to counter that trend and encourage greater business investment, including:

California Jobs First: IEGO will develop Inland Southern California’s regional jobs strategy to create quality jobs and a more accessible economy as part of Governor Newsom’s very intentional, inclusive approach to economic and workforce development to maximize state resources and investments by empowering communities to chart their own futures. Much of the funding will support career development projects from capacity building to industry-specific programs, and new job training.

Center of Excellence: As one of the state’s designated Center of Excellence, IEGO will support the region’s community colleges and their partners by providing research on the local labor market, including information on job growth, wages, demographics, top employers, education, and skill requirements, as well as education outcomes for industries and occupations critical to the Inland Empire’s economy. This data will help inform the development of new community college programs, curriculum, and partnerships that the colleges pursue in their efforts to prepare residents for high-paying, fast-growing jobs that Inland Empire businesses need today and in the future. 

Regional Marketing: IEGO will work to ensure that the region is well positioned to benefit from public and private investment and is fully recognized for its economic strength and opportunity. In this way, IEGO can enhance the delivery of public and private resources to the two-county region.

“There’s real opportunity for the IEGO Center of Excellence to lead deeper economic and workforce research. One of the immediate areas is our Top 50 Jobs report. We want to better identify the best job opportunities and pathways for workers in struggling families to make ends meet and build wealth,” said Andy Hall, who is leading report development for the Center of Excellence.

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Career & Workplace

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



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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