California Employment Report for September 2018

The Center for Jobs and the Economy has released our initial analysis of the September Employment Report released by the California Employment Development Department. For additional information and data about the California economy

CA Unemployment Rate Improves
CA Unemployment Rate

EDD reports California’s unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) in September dipped to 4.1%–the lowest level since the current unemployment series began in 1976. Total employment was up 34,600 from August, while total unemployment was down by 300. Total labor force was up 34,300, while the labor force participation rate improved to 62.0%.

By race/ethnicity: Latino unemployment was level at 5.2%; White improved to 4.2%; and Black dipped to 6.6%.  Note the demographic results are a 12-month moving average.

US Unemployment Rate Improves
US Unemployment Rate

The US unemployment rate improved to 3.7%. National employment was up 420,000, unemployment down by 270,000, and the labor force up by 150,000.  The US labor force participation rate was level at 62.7%.

CA Labor Force Unchanged Over Year
CA Change In
Labor Force

California’s labor force was essentially unchanged over the year ending September 2018, growing by only 4,800.  The US as a whole grew 0.8 million – a 0.5% expansion.  While workers elsewhere continue to return to the workforce, California’s low rate has implications for continued growth in the state, including the ability to sustain job growth if fewer workers are available and continued effects on state and local budgets for higher social program spending compared to other states.

California Ranks 5th by Employment Growth
Total Employment Gains

Total Employment Gains  At a 12-month gain of 81,100, California ranked 5th among the states for employment growth.  Texas led with 251,500, followed by Massachusetts at 157,700, Florida at 148,800, and Georgia at 106,000.

Nonfarm Jobs Up
Job Gains

Nonfarm wage and salary jobs rose slower at 13,200 (seasonally adjusted) in September, while jobs nationally grew by 134,000. August’s gains were revised to 42,600 from the previously reported 44,800. Biggest gains were in Administrative & Support & Waste Services (8,800; $44.7k), Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation (6,300; $57.8k), and Government (5,100; $67.7k). Losses were in nine industries, led by Information (-3,000; $168.4k) Educational Services (-2,400; $53.4k), and Construction (-2,000; $67.7k). All salary numbers are the latest 4-quarter average from Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages.

California Drops to #3 For Job Growth
State Ran By Job Gains

For the 12 months ending September 2018, California gained 339,600 nonfarm jobs, behind Florida which saw growth of 407,300.  Texas came in second at 406,400.

Counties with Double-Digit Unemployment
Counties with
Above 10%

The number of counties with an unemployment rate at 10% or higher remained at one:  Imperial. The number with unemployment rates at or below 5% rose to 45, with 11 counties at 3% or below.  San Mateo had the lowest rate at 2.1%, while Imperial had the highest at 19.3%.

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