California Job Recovery Picks Up Steam, Accounting For Over One-Third Of All Jobs Added In U.S.

Friday, March 26, 2021

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California’s labor market recovery picked up steam in February, with total nonfarm employment in the state expanding by 141,000 positions over the month, according to an analysis released jointly by Beacon Economics and the UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

37% CA Share Of All Jobs Added In U.S.

While the late 2020 surge in COVID-19 cases and the associated health-mandated business restrictions took a toll on the state’s labor market in December and January, the February figures represent the highest monthly job gains for the state since June of last year.

In contrast to its earlier trend, California helped to fuel national job gains in February. The state accounted for over 37% of the net jobs added in the entire nation during the month. More importantly, with the spread of the COVID-19 virus at its lowest levels since last summer, and the roll out of effective vaccines accelerating in the state, more and more businesses should be able to return to more normal operations in the coming months. This is bullish for the labor market recovery.

8.5% Unemployment Rate

“After a dark winter when the California labor market recovery stalled, February has brought significant hope to the state’s displaced workers,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at Beacon Economics and the UCR Center for Forecasting. “We still have 1.7 million fewer people employed in the state compared to pre-pandemic levels, but the significant decline in new virus cases coupled with the continued roll out of effective vaccines, are grounds for optimism that the spring and summer will bring significant job gains to the state.”

California’s unemployment rate declined to 8.5% in February, down from 9.0% in the previous month, but remains elevated relative to the 6.2% rate in the United States overall. In a positive sign, California’s labor force continued to expand in February, growing by 276,000, as workers felt encouraged and returned to the labor market. Still, the state’s labor force – a measure of both those working and those who are looking for work – has declined by 488,500 workers since its pre-pandemic peak in February 2020.

1.67 Million Fewer People Employed

Despite the encouraging performance of the labor market in February, there were still 1.67 million fewer people employed in California compared to February 2020. Total nonfarm employment in the state has contracted 9.4% since February of last year. This pace of growth trails the nation overall, where the labor market has shrunk by 6.2% over the same period.


Learn more at Beacon Econmics.

Category: Economic News, California