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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

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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