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

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

CALIFORNIA LABOR MARKET UPDATE

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 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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Career & Workplace

California’s Population Decline Continues to Hammer Labor Supply

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State’s Workforce Contracts Again In Latest Numbers; Unemployment Rate Ticks Up 

California’s labor market grew modestly in the latest numbers. Total nonfarm employment in the state expanded by 8,700 positions in September, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. August’s gains were also revised down to 8,900, a 19,000 decrease from the preliminary estimate of 27,900.

As of September 2023, California has recovered all of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020 (the beginning of the pandemic), and there are now 436,400 more people employed in the state compared to pre-pandemic February 2020. Since that time, total nonfarm employment in California has grown 2.5% compared to a 3.0% increase nationally. On an annual basis, California increased payrolls by 1.7% from September 2022 to September 2023, trailing the 2.1% increase at the national level over the same period.

California’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.7% in the latest numbers, up 0.1 percentage points from the previous month. The state’s unemployment rate remains elevated relative to the 3.8% rate in the United States overall. Moreover, California continues to struggle with its labor supply, which fell by 17,700 in September, a decrease of 0.1% on a month-over-month basis. Since February 2020, the state’s labor force has contracted by 216,300 workers, a 1.1% decline.

“Census figures released this week reveal the extent to which households continue to leave California,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics. “The state’s population has fallen by half a million people over the past three years and this is filtering through to the economy, where the labor force has shrunk and employers are struggling to find workers.”

Industry Profile  

  • At the industry level, job gains were mixed in the latest numbers. The Health Care sector led the way with payrolls expanding by 18,200, an increase of 0.7% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains, Health Care payrolls are now 9.6% above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Leisure and Hospitality was the next best-performing sector, adding 11,300 jobs, a month-over-month increase of 0.5%. With these gains Leisure and Hospitality payrolls are now 0.4%, or 8,500 jobs, above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Retail Trade (3,100 or 0.2%), Construction (2,200 or 0.2%), Real Estate (600 or 0.2%), and Management (500 or 0.2%).
  • Payrolls decreased in a handful of sectors in September. Information experienced the largest declines, with payrolls falling by 7,300, a contraction of 1.3% on a month-over-month basis. However, this decline was driven by the strikes in the Motion Picture and Sound Recording sub-sector, which has shed 30,800 positions over the last year, a 18.2% decline.
  • Other sectors posting declines during the month were Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (-5,900 or -0.4%), Administrative Support (-5,500 or -0.5%), Manufacturing (-4,600 or -0.3%), Finance and Insurance (-2,200 or -0.4%), Other Services (-1,100 or -0.2%), and Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (-500 or -0.1%).

Regional Profile

  • Regionally, job gains were led by Southern California in September. Los Angeles (MD) experienced the largest increase, with payrolls growing by 8,700 (0.2%) during the month. The Inland Empire (5,900 or 0.4%), Orange County (5,400 or 0.3%), San Diego (1,400 or 0.1%), and Ventura (800 or 0.3%) also enjoyed job gains. Over the past year, Orange County (2.1%) has seen the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Los Angeles (MD) (2.0%), El Centro (1.8%), Ventura (1.7%), San Diego (1.5%), and the Inland Empire (0.7%).
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, growth was mixed. San Rafael (MD) (1,000 or 0.9%) and Santa Rosa (1,00 or 0.5%) enjoyed the largest increase during the month. Vallejo (600 or 0.4%) also saw payrolls expand. On the other hand, San Francisco (MD) (-4,100 or -0.3%), San Jose (-1,800 or -0.2%), the East Bay (-1,600 or -0.1%), and Napa (-300 or -0.4%) all experienced payroll declines during the month. Over the past 12 months, Santa Rosa (3.4%) has had the fastest job growth in the region, followed by San Rafael (MD) (3.0%), the East Bay (2.0%), Vallejo (1.9%), San Francisco (MD) (1.4%), San Jose (1.3%), and Napa (0.5%).
  • In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly job gains with payrolls expanding by 2,200 (0.2%) positions in September. Payrolls in Bakersfield (700 or 0.2%), Modesto (700 or 0.4%), Redding (500 or 0.7%), Visalia (400 or 0.3%), Stockton (200 or 0.1%), and Chico (100 or 0.1%) also jumped during the month. On the other hand, Madera (-300 or -0.7%) and Merced (-100 or -0.1%) had payrolls decline. Over the past year, Yuba (2.6%) has enjoyed the fastest growth, followed by Hanford (2.4%), Fresno (2.3%), Sacramento (2.1%), Visalia (1.4%), Chico (1.3%), Bakersfield (1.0%), Madera (0.7%), Stockton (0.7%), Modesto (0.2%), Redding (0.0%), and Merced (-3.6%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara (400 or 0.2%) added the largest number of jobs in September. Salinas (300 or 0.2%) and Santa Cruz (100 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls increase during the month. On the other hand, payrolls in San Luis Obispo declined (-300 or -0.2%). From September 2022 to September 2023, Salinas (4.2%) added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by San Luis Obispo (3.1%), Santa Barbara (2.9%), and Santa Cruz (1.7%).
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California Employment Gains Pick Up in the Latest Numbers

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Hollywood Strike Effects: Job Sector That Houses Motion Picture and Sound Recording Sees Largest Decline

California’s labor market grew modestly in the latest numbers, with total nonfarm employment in the state expanding by 23,100 positions in August, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. July’s gains were revised down to 8,900, a 19,000 decrease from the preliminary estimate of 27,900.

“It was a bit of mixed bag during August, with the largest regions in California both gaining and shedding jobs,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics. “However, following a couple of slower months, employment gains did pick up, which sets the state up nicely as we enter a seasonally strong part of the year.”

As of August 2023, California has recovered all of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020 due to the pandemic. There are now 447,600 more people employed in the state compared to February 2020. Total nonfarm employment has grown 2.5% since that time compared to a 2.7% increase nationally. From August 2022 to August 2023, California increased payrolls by 1.9%, trailing the 2.0% increase nationally over the same period.

The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.6% in August 2023. California’s unemployment rate is elevated relative to the 3.8% rate in the United States overall. The state is continuing to struggle with its labor supply, which fell by 18,000 in August, a decrease of 0.1% on a month-over-month basis. Since February 2020, the state’s labor force has fallen by 197,500 workers, a 1.0% decline.

Industry Profile  

  • At the industry level, job gains were mixed. The Health Care sector led the way with payrolls expanding by 11,400, an increase of 0.4% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains Health Care payrolls are now 9.0% above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Government was the next best performing sector, adding 5,200 jobs, a month-over-month increase of 0.2%. With these gains, Government payrolls are now just 1.2%, or 32,500 jobs, below their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Construction (4,700 or 0.5%), Administrative Support (3,800 or 0.3%), Other Services (3,800 or 0.6%), Leisure and Hospitality (2,800 or 0.1%), Education (2,600 or 0.6%), Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (1,400 or 0.2%), and Manufacturing (1,300 or 0.1%).
  • Payrolls decreased in only a handful of sectors in August. Information saw the largest declines with payrolls falling by 9,000, a drop of 1.5% on a month-over-month basis. This decline was driven by the ongoing strikes in Motion Picture and Sound Recording, which has shed 15,200 positions over the last year, a 9.0% decline. Other sectors posting declines during the month were Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
    (-3,800 or -0.3%), Wholesale Trade (-1,100 or -0.2%), and Finance and Insurance (-800 or -0.1%).

Regional Profile

  • Regionally, job gains were led by the San Francisco Bay Area. The East Bay experienced the largest increase, with payrolls expanding by 2,700 (0.2%) positions in August. Santa Rosa (700 or 0.3%), San Rafael (MD) (200 or 0.2%), Vallejo (200 or 0.1%), and Napa (100 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls expand during the month. On the other hand, San Francisco (MD) (-1,200 or -0.1%) and San Jose (-500) experienced payroll declines. Over the past 12 months, the East Bay (2.5%) and Napa (2.5%) saw the fastest job growth in the region, followed by San Francisco (MD) (2.4%), San Rafael (MD) (2.3%), Santa Rosa (2.2%), San Jose (2.0%), and Vallejo (1.8%).
  • In Southern California, Orange County saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 7,100 (0.4%) during the month. San Diego (2,800 or 0.2%) and the Inland Empire (2,400 or 0.1%), also saw their payrolls jump. On the other hand, Los Angeles (MD) (-10,300 or -0.2%) and Ventura (-200 or -0.1%) experienced payroll declines during the month. Over the past year, San Diego (2.0%), Orange County (2.0%), and Los Angeles (MD) (2.0%) have enjoyed the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Ventura (1.6%), El Centro (1.2%), and the Inland Empire (0.6%).
  • In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 2,700 (0.2%) positions in August. Payrolls in Fresno (1,100 or 0.3%), Stockton (800 or 0.3%), Hanford (400 or 0.9%), Redding (300 or 0.4%), Chico (200 or 0.3%), and Yuba (200 or 0.4%) also saw their payrolls jump. On the other hand, Bakersfield (-2,100 or -0.7%), Visalia (-900 or -0.6%), Merced (-500 or -0.7%), and Modesto (-200 or -0.1%) had payrolls fall during the month. Over the past year, Hanford (38%) enjoyed the fastest growth, followed by Yuba (3.7%), Sacramento (2.4%), Redding (2.0%), Fresno (1.9%), Merced (1.8%), Chico (1.7%), Stockton (1.4%), Madera (1.4%), Visalia (1.0%), Bakersfield (0.7%), and Modesto (-1.1%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Salinas (1,000 or 0.7%) added the largest number of jobs. Santa Cruz (100 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls increase during the month. On the other hand, Santa Barbara (-1,000 or -0.5%) saw payrolls fall during the month. From August 2022 to August 2023, Salinas (4.7%) has added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by San Luis Obispo (3.8%), Santa Barbara (2.9%), and Santa Cruz (2.0%).
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