California’s unemployment rate falls to 4.8 percent in April

May 19, 2017 8:51am
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•  Down another tenth of a point

•  Central Valley rates drop

California’s unemploymentrate fell to 4.8 percent and nonfarm payroll employment fell by 16,300 jobs in April, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. The state has gained a total of 2,494,600 jobs since the economic expansion began in February 2010.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point in April to 4.4 percent, with employers nationwide adding 211,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.

In March, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, and in April 2016, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. The unemployment rate is derived from a federal survey of 5,500 California households.

Nonfarm payroll jobs in California totaled 16,681,200 in April, according to a survey of businesses that is larger and less variable statistically. The survey of 58,000 California businesses measures jobs in the economy. The year-over change, April 2016 to April 2017, shows an increase of 236,700 jobs (up 1.4 percent).


The federal household survey, done with a smaller sample than the survey of employers, shows an increase in the number of employed Californians over the month and the year. It estimates the number of Californians holding jobs in April was 18,255,000, an increase of 28,000 from March, and up 273,000 from the employment total in April of last year.

The number of unemployed Californians was 923,000 in April – down by 20,000 over the month, and down by 132,000 compared with April of last year.

Here are the Central Valley unemployment rates for APRIL 2017 followed by those from March in parentheses:

• Butte County: 5.6 percent; (6.6 percent)

• Fresno County: 8.8 percent; (10.3 percent)

• Kern County: 9.5 percent; (11.5 percent)

• Kings County: 9.5 percent; (11.2 percent)

• Madera County: 8.5 percent; (10.0 percent)

• Merced County: 10.2 percent; (12.2 percent)

• Sacramento County: 4.6 percent; (5.1 percent)

• San Joaquin County: 7.1 percent; (8.3 percent)

• Stanislaus County: 7.9 percent; (8.8 percent)

• Tulare County: 9.9 percent; (12.3 percent)

• Yolo County: 5.9 percent; (6.0 percent)

• Yuba County: 7.8 percent; (8.9 percent)

Imperial County had California’s highest jobless rate in April at 19.2 percent.

There continues to be virtually no unemployment in San Mateo County with its 2.5 percent unemployment rate, down from 2.7 percent in February.

California’s unemployment rate has been mired in the same narrow range for months:

April 4.8 percent

March 4.9 percent;

February 5.0 percent

January 2017: 5.1 percent

Figures from 2016:

December 5.2 percent

November 5.3percent;

October 5.5 percent

September: 5.5 percent

August: 5.5 percent

July: 6.0 percent

June: 5.4 percent

May: 5.2 percent

April: 5.3 percent

March: 5.4 percent

February: 5.5 percent

January: 5.7 percent


EDD’s payroll employment report (wage and salary jobs) in the nonfarm industries of California totaled 16,681,200 in April, a net loss of 16,300 jobs from March. This followed a revised gain of 22,800 jobs in March.

Month-over Job Gains

Four of California’s eleven industry sectors added a total of 21,600 jobs in April. Leisure and hospitality posted the largest jobs increase with a gain of 7,400 jobs, followed by construction with a gain of 7,200 jobs. Other sectors adding jobs over the month were mining and logging, and educational and health services.

Month-over Job Losses

Seven industry sectors reported job declines over the month, down a total of 37,900 jobs. Professional and business services posted the largest decrease over the month, down by 17,500 jobs, followed by trade, transportation and utilities, which fell by 5,900 jobs. Other sectors losing jobs over the month were manufacturing; information; financial activities; other services; and government.

Year-over Job Gains

In a year-over-year comparison (April 2016 to April 2017), nonfarm payroll employment in California increased by 236,700 jobs (a 1.4 percent increase).

Eight of California’s eleven industry sectors added a total of 258,500 jobs year-over. The largest job gains were in educational and health services, up 69,700 jobs (a 2.8 percent increase); leisure and hospitality, up 51,000 jobs (a 2.7 percent increase); and government, up 44,400 jobs (a 1.8 percent increase).

Other sectors adding jobs over the year were construction; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; professional and business services; and other services.

Year-over Job Losses

Three industry sectors posted job declines over the year, down a total of 21,800 jobs. Manufacturing employment fell by 11,400 jobs (down 0.9 percent); information was down by 8,800 jobs (a 1.7 percent decrease); and mining and logging employment fell by 1,600 jobs (down 6.4 percent).


In related data, the EDD reported that there were 388,142 people receiving regular Unemployment Insurance benefits during the April survey week. This compares with 420,505 in March and 398,005 in April of last year. At the same time, new claims for Unemployment Insurance were 45,319 in April, compared with 42,786 in March and 46,821 in April of last year.

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