California’s unemployment rate falls to 4.9 percent in March

April 21, 2017 8:42am
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•  Nonfarm payroll jobs increase by 19,300

•  Down from 5.6 percent a year earlier

California’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent and the state’s employers added 19,300 nonfarm payroll jobs in March, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department from two surveys.

With March’s job gains, the state has gained a total of 2,507,400 jobs since the economic expansion began in February 2010.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 of a percentage point in March to 4.5 percent, with employers nationwide adding 98,000 nonfarm payroll jobs.

In February, the state’s unemployment rate was 5.0 percent, and in March 2016, the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent. The unemployment rate is derived from a federal survey of 5,500 California households.

Nonfarm payroll jobs in California totaled 16,694,000 in March, 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, March 2016 to March 2017, shows an increase of 346,400 jobs (up 2.1 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 March was 18,227,000, an increase of 37,000 from February, and up 268,000 from the employment total in March of last year.

The number of unemployed Californians was 942,000 in March – down by 25,000 over the month, and down by 119,000 compared with March of last year.

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

• Butte County: 6.6 percent; (6.8 percent)

• Fresno County: 10.3 percent; (10.3 percent)

• Kern County: 11.5 percent; (10.9 percent)

• Kings County: 11.2 percent; (11.5 percent)

• Madera County: 10.0 percent; (9.5 percent)

• Merced County: 12.2 percent; (12.4 percent)

• Sacramento County: 5.1 percent; (5.2 percent)

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

• Stanislaus County: 8.8 percent; (8.8 percent)

• Tulare County: 12.3 percent; (12.1 percent)

• Yolo County: 6.0 percent; (6.3 percent)

• Yuba County: 8.9 percent; (9.3 percent)

Colusa County had California’s highest jobless rate in March at 21.8 percent, down from February’s 22.6 percent.

There continues to be virtually no unemployment in San Mateo County with its 2.7 percent unemployment rate, down from 2.8 percent in February.

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

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

Month-over Job Gains

EDD’s payroll employment report (wage and salary jobs) in the nonfarm industries of California totaled 16,694,000 in March, a net gain of 19,300 jobs from February. This followed a revised gain of 21,500 jobs in February.

Six of California’s eleven industry sectors added a total of 37,200 jobs in March. Construction posted the largest jobs increase, with a gain of 18,900 jobs, followed by government, with a gain of 6,300 jobs. Other sectors adding jobs over the month were manufacturing; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; and other services.

Month-over Job Losses

Five industry sectors reported job declines over the month, down a total of 17,900 jobs. Information posted the largest decrease over the month, down by 9,400 jobs, followed by trade, transportation and utilities, which fell by 4,200 jobs. Other sectors losing jobs over the month were mining and logging; financial activities; and professional and business services.

Year-over Job Gains

In a year-over-year comparison (March 2016 to March 2017), nonfarm payroll employment in California increased by 346,400 jobs (a 2.1 percent increase).

Nine of California’s eleven industry sectors added a total of 355,300 jobs year-over. The largest job gains were in educational and health services, up 88,400 jobs (a 3.5 percent increase); leisure and hospitality, up 51,400 jobs (a 2.7 percent increase); and government, up 51,400 jobs (a 2.1 percent increase). Other sectors adding jobs over the year were construction; trade, transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; professional and business services; and other services.

Year-over Job Losses

Two industry sectors (mining and logging, and manufacturing) posted job declines over the year, down a total of 8,900 jobs. Manufacturing employment fell by 6,500 jobs (down 0.5 percent), while mining and logging was down by 2,400 jobs (a 9.4 percent decrease).

In related data, the EDD reported that there were 420,505 people receiving regular Unemployment Insurance benefits during the March survey week. This compares with 405,196 in February and 420,502 in March of last year. At the same time, new claims for Unemployment Insurance were 42,786 in March, compared with 43,499 in February and 44,305 in March of last year.

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