California Has Nearly Recovered All Jobs From the Pandemic

As a major economic engine in the complex U.S. economy, how California fares affects everything and everyone. And the Golden State has polished up its labor look, as it is now close to recovering all jobs it had lost due to the pandemic, says Beacon Economics. Total nonfarm employment in the state growing by 84,800 positions in July, according to an analysis from both Beacon and the  UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. The analysis is based on data from both the U.S. Department of Labor and the California Employment Development Department.

June’s numbers were also revised upwards to 37,300 from the previous estimate of 19,900.

The state’s unemployment number fell to 3.9%, which is the lowest since at least 1976. But that’s still higher than the U.S. national unemployment rate of 3.5%.

“California has added jobs at a healthy pace in 2021 and 2022, but as of July 2022, there are still 2.7% fewer people employed in the state (representing 73,800 jobs) than there were prior to the pandemic,” said the two organizations. “California’s recovery lags the national recovery due to labor shortages in the state.”

The national recovery from July 2021 to July 2022 was 4.2%. For California, it was 4.4%. If August sees an equal number of new jobs, the state will finally have repaired its job loss.

“While a handful of sectors in California are now exceeding their pre-pandemic peaks, employment levels in the hardest hit sectors remain below their pre-pandemic levels,” says the analysis. “However, those sectors should continue to steadily gain back jobs over the coming months.”

Educational and health services saw the largest increase with 20,500 new jobs in July. Healthcare payrolls specifically have topped pre-pandemic numbers, up 2.2% since February 2020.

Next highest was leisure and hospitality, up 14,900 jobs. Third was other services and 4,900. Government was up by 4,500 and Information services at 4,400.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the lowest unemployment rate by state in July was 1.8% in Minnesota. “The next lowest rates were in Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Utah, 2.0 percent each,” the agency said. “The rates in the following seven states set new series lows (all state series begin in 1976): Alaska (4.5 percent), California (3.9 percent), Georgia (2.8 percent), Louisiana (3.6 percent), Mississippi (3.6 percent), Missouri (2.5 percent), and Washington (3.7 percent). The District of Columbia had the highest unemployment rate, 5.2 percent, followed by Alaska and New Mexico, 4.5 percent each. In total, 17 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.5 percent, 10 states and the District had higher rates, and 23 states had rates that  were not appreciably different from that of the nation.”

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