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Pre Coronavirus Job Numbers Show Modest Growth But New World Of ‘Containment’ Means Drop In Spending And Job Losses To Come 



Pre Coronavirus: State Labor Force Accelerates, Unemployment Rate Remains Steady

March 13, 2020 — Today’s release from Beacon Economics and the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development includes analysis and commentary on both the January employment numbers (the latest) and the annual benchmark revision from the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

Annual Revision

The annual benchmark revision released today by the California EDD saw 2019’s employment figures revised downwards. Employment growth in the state from 2018 to 2019 was revised down from 1.7% to 1.5%. This revision translates into 38,900 fewer jobs added in the state during the year than the EDD had originally estimated. 

“Despite the slight downward revision, the California economy turned in another strong performance in 2019 which is very welcome at the moment,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics and the UCR Center for Forecasting. “While the coronavirus outbreak has injected major uncertainty into the 2020 outlook, California’s labor market enters this uncertainty from a position of strength, which should help dampen the effect of a short-term contraction in economic activity.”

The state’s labor force growth also saw revisions. Year-over-year, labor force growth was revised up to 0.6% from 0.5%.  This means that 78,200 more people joined the labor force during the year than originally estimated. 

At the industry level, the benchmark revision was mixed, with growth rates in some sectors revised upwards, while others were revised downwards. The biggest upward revisions to year-over-year growth rates (2018 to 2019) were in Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities (from an estimate of 2.3% to a revised figure of 5.4%), Real Estate (revised from 1.4% to 2.6%), Information (revised from 2.4% original to 3.5%), Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services (revised from  3.0% to 4.0%), and Other Services (revised from 0.4% to 0.8%).

The biggest downward revisions in year-over-year growth rates were in Administrative Support (revised from 2.5% to 0.3%), Retail Trade (revised from -0.5% to -1.6% revised), Management (revised from 1.0% to 0.0%), Manufacturing (revised from 0.9% to 0.0%), Mining and Logging (revised from 1.1% to 0.4%), Finance and Insurance (revised from -0.2% to -0.8%), and Construction (revised from 3.4%  to 2.7%).

The annual benchmark revision was also mixed at the metro region level, with growth rates revised up in some regions and down in others. The largest upward revisions in year-over-year growth rates were in Yuba (revised from 1.9% to 4.9% ), Stockton (revised from 0.2% to 2.3%), El Centro (revised from 0.4% to 1.9%), Vallejo (revised from 0.0% to 1.2%), Redding (revised from 1.0% to 1.6%), and the Inland Empire (revised from  1.8% to 2.4%). The largest declines in year-over-year growth rates from 2018 to 2019 were in Chico (revised from 1.7% to -2.2%), San Rafael (MD) (revised from 2.4% to 0.4%), Salinas (revised from 3.2% to 1.6% ), the East Bay (revised from 1.7% to 0.5%), San Jose (revised from 2.7% to 1.8%), Santa Rosa (revised from 1.3% to 0.5%), Fresno (revised from 3.2% to 2.4%), and Hanford (revised from 1.3% to 0.8%).

January Numbers

Nonfarm employment in California began 2020 with modest gains. The latest figures released by the California EDD reveal that employment in the state grew by 21,400 jobs in January, and since January 2019, California has added 251,800 jobs, the equivalent of a 1.5% year-over-year increase, surpassing the nation’s growth rate of 1.4%.

But it’s a different world today. “Monthly job releases usually provide an important read on the economy, enabling us to track trends in growth and take the temperature of recent hiring activity,” said Osman. “In view of the coronavirus outbreak, January’s figures relate to a different economic reality. In a world of containment, in the short-term, we’ll likely see a precipitous fall in discretionary spending which will almost surely lead to job losses in ‘experiential’ sectors of the economy, such as the arts and entertainment, and restaurants and tourism. If containment is short-lived, however, we should expect spending to rebound quickly, and job growth to return.”

The January numbers show that California’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.9%, maintaining its record low. The state’s labor force also expanded by 26,100 in January, which would normally improve the overall job outlook although the effects of the coronavirus are expected to have a negative impact in at least the near term. Year-over-year gains for California’s labor force now stand at 0.7%, a considerable increase from the 0.2% increase reported in last month’s figures.

Key January Findings

  • The Leisure and Hospitality sector added more jobs in January than any other sector in the state’s economy, boosting payrolls by 7,800 positions. Since January 2019, the sector grew at a steady pace, increasing payrolls by 1.7%. However, the current outlook for this sector is almost certainly weak. The effect of COVID-19 does not register in the current numbers and will not appear in the numbers in a meaningful way until data for April are available. The closing of major entertainment establishments, the postponement or cancellation of large public gatherings, as well as the overall decrease in travel, will very likely have a negative impact on jobs in this sector in the coming months.
  • The Health Care sector also had a strong month, increasing payrolls by 6,800 in January. Other sectors posting strong gains in January were Information (5,500), Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (3,400), Wholesale Trade (2,600), and Other Services (2,500).
  • Over the twelve-month period from January 2019 to January 2020, Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (4.2%), Information (4.2%), Educational Services (3.9%), Health Care (3.0%), Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (2.8%), and Construction (2.0%) experienced the biggest job gains.
  • Despite overall job growth in the state, payrolls decreased in a handful of sectors in January. Retail Trade posted the largest decline, where payrolls declined by 2,600. The month-over-month decline also drove year-over-year growth to a 1.2% decrease. Payrolls in Construction (-2,400), Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services (-2,300), Management (-1,600), and Manufacturing (-900) also contracted in January.
  • Within the state, job growth was led by Southern California. Los Angeles (MD) saw the biggest gains, where payrolls grew by 10,6000 during the month. Orange County (2,100), the Inland Empire (1,800), and San Diego (1,300) also enjoyed job gains. Over the past year, El Centro (1.9%) saw the fastest job growth in the region, followed by the Inland Empire (1.5%), Los Angeles (MD) (1.4%), Ventura (1.4%), San Diego (1.3%), and Orange County (1.1%).
  • In the Bay Area, San Francisco (MD) led the way, where payrolls expanded by 3,500 positions in January. San Jose (2,900), the East Bay (1,100), and San Rafael (MD) (700) also increased payrolls during the month. Over the past year, San Francisco (MD) (3.0%) saw the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Napa (2.3%), San Rafael (MD) (1.8%), Santa Rosa (1.8%), and San Jose (1.4%).
  • In the Central Valley, Bakersfield saw the biggest monthly gains, where payrolls increased by 400 positions. Modesto (300), Sacramento (300), Merced, (200), and Yuba (200) added jobs as well. Over the past 12 months, Yuba (8.4%) saw the fastest growth, followed by Bakersfield (2.3%), Fresno (2.1%), Modesto (1.8%), and Visalia (1.6%).
  • On the Central Coast, San Luis Obispo added the greatest number of jobs, with payrolls growing by 400 over the month. In Santa Barbara, 200 positions were added to local payrolls. From January 2019 to January 2020, San Luis Obispo (1.9%) added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by Santa Cruz (1.5%), Salinas (1.4%), and Santa Barbara (1.1%).


 Beacon Economics is 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 Christopher Thornberg, Taner Osman, and Brian Vanderplas. Learn more at and

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 



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



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



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

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