Good News Tempered: Resurging Virus, Expected to Drag Down July and August Numbers; California Unemployment Rate Declines Modestly
July 17, 2020 — In June, as public health mandates to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus were eased, California saw the largest month-over-month job increase on record, with the addition of 558,200 positions, according to an analysis released jointly by Beacon Economics and the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.
Any exuberance should be tempered, however, since there are still roughly two million fewer jobs in the state than at the peak prior to the pandemic. Furthermore, the resurging spread of the virus in the state has led Governor Newsom to reimplement many business closures. A stable and ongoing economic recovery cannot occur until the virus is contained in the state and the nation, according to the analysis.
“Despite June’s strong numbers, we’re unlikely to see the labor market’s recovery continue at such a pace,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics and the UCR Center for Forecasting. “The number of jobs added will likely represent the high mark until the virus in the state is contained. The strongest job gains were seen in Leisure and Hospitality, and these are the very sectors that will be hit the hardest by health-mandated business closures.”
In June, year-over-year employment growth in California stood at -10.0%, a decline of 1.7 million positions, the third largest annual decline on record, only trumped by the figures in April and May. The state fared worse than the nation, where nonfarm employment declined by 8.6% over the same period.
From June 2019 to June 2020, 2.1 million workers were added to the state’s unemployment ranks, which means in June, the unemployment rate stood at 14.9%, a relatively modest decline from the 16.3% rate recorded in May. California’s June unemployment rate is higher than the national figure of 11.1%. The number of unemployed Californian’s is over three and half times the level seen one year earlier, at 2,831,031.
On a positive note, the state’s labor force surged by 441,200 people in June, as encouraged workers rejoined the labor force. That said, state’s labor force has declined by 433,000 over the past year, although the strong month cut the pandemic declines by just over half.
- As Leisure and Hospitality led job losses in April, the sector led job gains in June, increasing payrolls by 292,500. This sector accounted for 52% of all job gains in California for the month. Both Accommodation and Food Services (242,500) and Arts and Entertainment (50,000) added to their payrolls by healthy margins in June. However, Leisure and Hospitality has significant ground to make-up, with payrolls falling 30% from June 2019 to June 2020. The re-implementation of restrictions on inside dining and bars will likely negatively affect the industry in July.
- The easing of public health mandates also allowed a significant number of Retail establishments to open their doors, which increased payrolls by 71,300 in June. Other Services – which includes hair and nail salons – also benefited from the easing of public health mandates, adding 27,700 positions during the month. However, the reimplementation of businesses closures will hit Retail Trade and Other Services in July and August.
- Sectors that were not as impacted by the public health mandates also expanded in June. Construction (+26,800) and Manufacturing (+23,400) grew by significant margin, and importantly, these gains should not be impacted by the reimplementation of closures. These sectors also have ground to make up before returning to pre-recession levels, however, with payrolls in Construction (-4.5%) and Manufacturing (-7.6%) down over the last year.
- Government was the only sector to post declines in June as payrolls decreased by 36,300 positions during the month. State Government was responsible for the bulk of the declines, with payrolls falling by 30,200 in June. Government positions have been slightly more insulated from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic than those in the private sector but are still down 7.6% over the last year.
- Regionally, job increases were led by Southern California. Los Angeles (MD) saw the biggest increase, where payrolls grew by 154,900 during the month. Orange County (68,200), San Diego (51,600), and the Inland Empire (43,800) also added a significant number of jobs during the month. Over the past year, Orange County (-11.7%) experienced the steepest job losses in the region, measured by percentage decrease, followed by Ventura (-10.3%), Los Angeles (MD) (-10.3%), San Diego (-10.3%), and the Inland Empire (-9.7%).
- In the San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco (MD) and San Jose experienced the largest increases, where payrolls each expanded by 37,200 positions in June. The East Bay (27,300), Santa Rosa (8,500), San Rafael (MD) (5,500), Napa (3,800), and Vallejo (2,800) also saw payrolls expand during the month. Over the past year, Vallejo (-12.6%) had the steepest declines in the region, followed by the East Bay (-12.1%), San Francisco (MD) (-10.9%), and San Rafael (MD) (-10.5%).
- In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 23,400 positions. Payrolls in Fresno (10,600), Bakersfield (9,900), Modesto (7,600), Stockton (7,500), and Visalia (5,300) increased as well. Over the last year, Yuba (-11.4%) had the steepest declines followed by Modesto (-10.4%), Sacramento (-9.3%), Madera (-9.2%), Bakersfield (-9.0%), Chico, (-8.5%), and Redding (-8.5%).
- On California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara added the largest number of jobs, with payrolls increasing by 7,100 during the month. Payrolls in Salinas (6,600), San Luis Obispo (2,500), and Santa Cruz (2,400) also increased during the month. From a year-over-year perspective, San Luis Obispo (-15.9%) shed positions at the fastest rate, followed by Santa Cruz (-14.8%), Salinas (-13.5%), and Santa Barbara (-11.5%).
By Beacon Economics, an independent economic research and consulting firm based in Los Angeles. The UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development is the first world class university forecasting center in the Inland Empire. This analysis was authored by Taner Osman and Brian Vanderplas. Learn more at www.beaconecon.com and www.ucreconomicforecast.org.
California’s Inland Empire added 6,990 tech jobs between 2016 to 2021; Growth Rate of 39%—Highest Rate Among U.S. Markets
Greater Los Angeles/Orange County Ranked #12 in CBRE’s Annual ‘Scoring Tech Talent’ Report; Region Added More Than 7,000 Tech Workers in 2021, the Third-Largest Gain Among U.S. Markets, and Produced the Second-Highest Number of Tech Degree Graduates
The Greater Los Angeles/Orange County region ranks No. 12 overall in CBRE’s 2022 Scoring Tech Talent report as North American tech-talent employment bounced back from the pandemic to post job gains across most top markets in 2021, though the industry’s resilience will be tested again amid economic turmoil in 2022, according to a new report from CBRE.
California’s Inland Empire is also included in the report among small tech talent markets of less than 50,000 workers. The Inland Empire added 6,990 tech jobs between 2016 to 2021, a growth rate of 39 percent, which was the highest rate among U.S. markets. The Inland Empire also benefits from being the fifth-most-concentrated market for Gen Z, with those aged 20 to 24 years old representing 7.2 percent of the overall population.
The U.S. added a net 136,000 tech talent jobs last year across established hubs such as the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Seattle as well as smaller markets like Nashville, Cleveland and California’s Inland Empire. Both tech job growth and tech office leasing proved resilient by rebounding in 2021 from slowdowns in 2020.
Los Angeles/Orange County stood out in the report for its tech talent gains during the pandemic, adding more than 7,000 tech workers in 2021 alone. The region also excelled in its tech degree completions, producing the second-highest number of tech graduates in 2020 (14,504), behind only the New York metro.
“The large number of tech degree graduates plays a significant role in the expansion we are seeing in the tech industry throughout southern California. The desirable weather and lifestyle in Los Angeles provides an added attraction for tech talent to remain here and for tech employers to locate where that talent wants to be based. This is fueling expansion by both traditional tech and tech directly linked to the media, entertainment and gaming sectors,” said Michelle Esquivel-Hall, executive vice president with CBRE’s Tech & Media Practice in Los Angeles.
CBRE’s report, now in its 10th year, ranks the top 50 North American markets by analyzing 13 measures of their ability to attract and develop tech talent, including tech graduation rates, tech-job concentration, tech labor pool size, and labor and real estate costs.
CBRE also ranks the Next 25 emerging tech markets on a narrower set of criteria. Tech talent is defined as 20 key tech professions — such as software engineers and systems and data managers – across all industries.
Greater Los Angeles/Orange County stood out in the report in several other key areas:
- Greater Los Angeles/Orange County’s tech talent workforce grew by 10 percent from 2016 to 2021, reaching 235,800 workers. This makes it the fifth-largest tech talent workforce in North America.
- The region produced nearly 45,000 more tech degrees than tech jobs between 2016 and 2021, meaning more tech talent is available for companies looking to hire in the region.
- It is the 10th-most-concentrated market for both millennials and Gen Z with the age cohorts representing 22.6 percent and 6.8 percent of the overall population, respectively. For this analysis, CBRE defines millennials as 25 to 39 years old and working age Gen Z as 20 to 24 years old.
Worker Shortage Holding Back Full Job Recovery in California’s Major Metros
True to Form: Home Prices in the State’s Legendarily Expensive Housing Markets Surged More Than $100K Above Trend During Pandemic
A mounting shortage of workers is the main culprit behind slower job recovery in California’s major metropolitan regions, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. While the inland areas of the state now have more jobs than they did prior to the COVID-19 recession, none of California’s five large coastal metros have reached their pre-pandemic levels of employment.
But they are close, and while these urban areas continue to inch back towards full recovery, says the analysis, each is struggling with a tight labor supply, limiting the ability of local employers to hire the workers they need.
“Any glance at a major job finding site makes it quickly apparent how intensely California employers are trying to hire,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics and one of the report authors. “The demand for workers is high, but we don’t have sufficient labor supply, and that is going to continue constraining near-term job growth.”
From best performing to worst, San Diego County has now recovered 99.5% of all the jobs it lost during the pandemic recession, the South Bay/Silicon Valley has recovered 98.1% of its jobs, Los Angeles and the East Bay/Oakland have both recovered 97.3% of their jobs, and San Francisco trails with a recovery rate of 96.6%. With the exception of San Diego, all are trailing California as a whole (98.9% job recovery) and the nation (99.5%).
As with last edition of this analysis, each metro is forecast to reach or surpass pre-pandemic job levels in the first half of 2023 (San Diego by the end of 2022). The relative sluggishness of their recovery can be better understood in the context of record-low unemployment rates.
With the exception of Los Angeles, the state’s largest coastal metros currently have unemployment rates that are at or close to historic lows: San Francisco 1.6%, South Bay 1.7%, and San Diego and the East Bay 2.4% (unemployment in LA is higher than it was pre-pandemic, due in part to a slower recovery in that region’s all-important Leisure and Hospitality sector).
“Unemployment rates are defined by the number of people actively looking for work who are not currently employed” said Osman. “Those rates are so low in nearly all of California’s largest metro areas, they can’t fall much further, and these conditions are reflected in the inability to hire enough workers.”
The analysis also examines the red-hot housing markets in the state’s coastal metros, forecasting that while home prices will continue rising in the near-term future, at least the rate of price appreciation will cool.
According to the analysis, high demand throughout the pandemic pushed price growth in most of the regions studied above their already steep, upward pre-recession trend. In these metros, prices are estimated to be approximately $127,000 to $169,000 higher than they would have been had it not been for the pandemic and the economic effects it spawned. San Francisco is the one metro where prices did not rise above trend, but that may be a function of the region’s already exceptionally ‘vertical’ price growth.
Worker Supply Remains Primary Obstacle to California Job Growth
April Job Gains Revised Upwards In Latest Numbers
California’s labor market continued to expand at a steady pace in May (the latest data), with total nonfarm employment in the state growing by 42,900 positions over the month, according to an analysis released jointly by Beacon Economics and the UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. April’s gains were also revised up to 44,600 in the latest numbers, a 3,200 increase from the preliminary estimate of 41,400.
While California has added jobs at a healthy pace in 2021 and 2022, as of May 2022, the state has recovered just 93% of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020, and there are still 193,800 fewer people employed in California compared to February 2020. Total nonfarm employment in the state contracted 1.1% over this time compared to a 0.5% drop nationally. However, with a larger portion of its workforce to be recovered, California increased payrolls by 5.2% from May 2021 to May 2022, outpacing the 4.5% increase nationally over the same period.
California’s unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in May, a 0.3 percentage-point decline from the previous month, which was driven by an increase in household employment (+121,000). California’s unemployment rate remains elevated relative to the 3.6% rate in the United States overall. While growing by 75,000 in May, the state continues to struggle with its labor supply. Since February 2020, the California labor force has fallen by 232,100 workers, a 1.2% decline.
“The low unemployment rate in the state shows that worker supply remains the primary obstacle to job growth in California,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics and the Center for Economic Forecasting. “Moreover, a clear dichotomy has emerged, whereby labor markets in the state’s central communities have outperformed the coastal communities; the coast is routed in high cost and housing supply constraints and continues to experience labor market shortages.”
- While a handful of sectors in California are now exceeding their pre-pandemic peaks, employment levels in the hardest hit sectors remain below their pre-pandemic levels and should continue to steadily gain back jobs over the coming months.
- Leisure and Hospitality led payrolls gains in May, with payrolls expanding by 8,800. However, this industry still has a long way to go to recover all of the jobs lost due to the pandemic, with payrolls still down 8.4% since February 2020.
- Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Information (8,800), Construction (7,100), Health Care (6,600), Government (4,600), Manufacturing (3,700), Other Services (3,600), and Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (3,600).
- Job gains were broad based in May with Retail Trade (-9,900) being the only sector to post significant losses during the month. Finance and Insurance (-500) and Mining and Logging (-300) also shed positions during the month, but the losses were minor.
- Regionally, job gains were led by Southern California. San Diego saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 6,700 (0.4%) during the month. Orange County (6,500 or 0.4%), Los Angeles (MD) (5,200 or 0.1%), the Inland Empire (2,600 or 0.2%), and Ventura (2,100 or 0.7%) also saw their payrolls jump during the month. The Inland Empire (123.4%) has experienced the strongest recovery in the region, measured by the percentage of jobs recovered from April 2020 to May 2022 relative to the jobs lost from February 2020 to April 2020. The IE is followed by El Centro (110.2%), San Diego (97.1%), Orange County (86.5%), Los Angeles (MD) (83.9%), and Ventura (79.8%).
- In the Bay Area, San Francisco (MD) experienced the largest increase, with payrolls expanding by 2,700 (0.2%) positions in May. The East Bay (1,900 or 0.2%), San Jose (1,700 or 0.1%), and San Rafael (MD) (600 or 0.6%) also saw payrolls expand during the month. Since April 2020, San Jose (86.2%) has experienced the strongest recovery in the region, followed by the East Bay (83.8%), San Francisco (MD) (78.4%), Santa Rosa (76.5%), Napa (75.6%), Vallejo (67.4%), and San Rafael (MD) (62.6%).
- In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 3,200 (0.3%) positions in May. Payrolls in Visalia (500 or 0.4%), Fresno (400 or 0.1%), Merced (300 or 0.4%), and Yuba (200 or 0.4%) increased steadily as well. Since April 2020, Visalia (127.9%) has experienced the strongest recovery in the region, followed by Stockton (124%), Yuba (124%), Madera (112%), Merced (111.9%), Sacramento (110.8%), Redding (105.1%), and Fresno (104.5%).
- On California’s Central Coast, San Luis Obispo added the largest number of jobs, with payrolls increasing by 1,100 (0.9%) during the month. Salinas (900 or 0.6%) and Santa Barbara (700 or 0.4%) also saw payrolls expand. Since April 2020, and San Luis Obispo (92.7%) has experienced the strongest recovery in the region, followed by Santa Barbara (89%), Salinas (82.2%), and Santa Cruz (80.5%).
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