California Adds Jobs at a Healthy Pace

State continues to climb back from pandemic losses
By Victoria Pike Bond | UCR News |

California’s labor market continued to expand at a steady pace in March, with total nonfarm employment in the state growing by 60,200 positions over the month, according to an analysis released jointly by the UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting & Development and Beacon Economics. February’s gains were revised down to 135,400 in the latest numbers, a 2,700 decrease from the preliminary estimate of 138,100.

While California has added jobs at a healthy pace in 2021 and 2022, as of March 2022, the state has recovered just 89.3% of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020, and there are now 395,500 fewer people employed in California compared to pre-pandemic February 2020. Total nonfarm employment in the state has contracted 1.7% since this time, compared to a 1.0% decline nationally. With a larger portion of its workforce to be recovered, California increased payrolls by 6.4% from March 2021 to March 2022, well above the 4.5% increase nationally during the same period.

“The strong job gains relative to the nation will continue, since California has more ground to recover compared to the rest of the country,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at the UCR Center for Economic Forecasting & Development and Beacon Economics. “While macro headwinds, most notably rising interest rates and inflation, gather momentum, it’s not expected to slow employment growth in the coming months, as the re-opening tailwinds remain strong.”

 

60,200 Jobs Added

California’s labor market continued to expand at a steady pace in March, with total nonfarm employment in the state growing by 60,200 positions over the month, according to an analysis released jointly by the center and Beacon Economics. February’s gains were revised down to 135,400 in the latest numbers, a 2,700 decrease from the preliminary estimate of 138,100.
 

89.3% Total Jobs Recovered

While California has added jobs at a healthy pace in 2021 and 2022, as of March 2022, the state has recovered just 89.3% of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020, and there are now 395,500 fewer people employed in California compared to pre-pandemic February 2020. Total nonfarm employment in the state has contracted 1.7% since this time, compared to a 1.0% decline nationally. With a larger portion of its workforce to be recovered, California increased payrolls by 6.4% from March 2021 to March 2022, well above the 4.5% increase nationally during the same period.

“The strong job gains relative to the nation will continue, since California has more ground to recover compared to the rest of the country,”  said Taner Osman, Research Manager at the Center for Economic Forecasting and Beacon Economics. “While macro headwinds, most notably rising interest rates and inflation, gather momentum, it’s not expected to slow employment growth in the coming months, as the re-opening tailwinds remain strong.”
 

4.9% Unemployment Rate

California’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in March, a 0.4 percentage-point decline from the previous month, which was driven by an increase in household employment (+141,100). California’s unemployment rate remains elevated relative to the 3.6% rate in the United States overall. While growing by 63,100 in March, the state continues to struggle with its labor supply. Since February 2020, the state’s labor force has fallen by 405,100 workers, a 2.1% decline.

 

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The Beacon Employment Report | California is a unique analysis of California’s employment numbers and trends. Each month, they link econometric predictions to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the California Employment Development Department to identify important changes in employment across industries and regions. The Beacon Employment Report is also one of the few analyses that uses seasonally adjusted numbers, which are critical to revealing accurate trends and insights within data.