California Delivers Record-Setting Unemployment in April
- California’s unemployment rate fell to a new record low of 4.2 percent in April, with 39,300 jobs added during the month. California has now gained a total of 2,908,100 jobs since the economic expansion began in February 2010. Over the last year, there were 356,800 jobs added, a 2.1 percent increase. March’s previously reported decline was revised up 5,400 new jobs. In the first four months of 2018, 98,400 jobs were added in the state, compared to 104,000 jobs added during the same period last year. While fewer jobs were added this year, 2018’s increase is still robust considering the historically low unemployment rate.
- Still, 815,000 Californians were counted as unemployed in April. However, this is 13,000 fewer than in March, and 139,000 fewer compared with April of last year. All industries except manufacturing added jobs in April with the construction industry showing the largest increase with 10,000 new jobs added, followed by professional and business services, up by 8,500 jobs.
- Over the last year, all California industries except those in the category listed as other services added jobs, with the largest gains in educational and health services, up by 83,500 jobs, Professional and business services added 65,800 jobs, and construction increased by 59,500 jobs.
- In the Bay Area, San Francisco and San Mateo counties’ unemployment rate also dropped further, to 2.1 percent. The region added 4,400 jobs over the month prior, with most of the leisure and hospitality category delivering the largest gain, 2,000 jobs, attributed to accommodation and food services. professional and business services had the second-largest net gain from March, 2,000 newly created jobs, with computer systems design and related services driving more than half of this growth.
- Over the last year, a total of 20,400 new jobs were added in San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Professional and business services continued to lead this year-over-year growth, adding 10,000 new jobs. This was followed by gains in professional, scientific and technical services, attributing 9,400 new jobs to the increase, while information jobs increased by 5,300.
- In Alameda and Contra Costa counties, unemployment also fell to 2.7 percent, with 4,700 jobs added over the month. The majority of this gain is attributed to leisure and hospitality, up 2,400 jobs. Other industries also showed solid gains, while health care and social assistance lost jobs, particularly in ambulatory health care services, though this was one of the sectors that gained a solid number of jobs over the last year. Since last April, 24,100 jobs were added with nearly one-quarter of them in construction, followed by professional and business services; manufacturing; trade, transportation, and utilities; private educational and health services; government; and leisure and hospitality.
- In Santa Clara and San Benito counties, the unemployment rate declined to 2.4 percent, with 10,000 jobs added over the month. The largest increase was in construction, largely specialty trade contractors, which added 2,300 jobs, well above the historical 400 jobs increase at this time of the year. Over the year, a total of 38,100 jobs were added. The information sector showed the largest year-over increase, with 9,700 jobs added, marking its 99th consecutive month of job gains on a year-over-year basis. Manufacturing followed with net gains of 7,800 jobs, driven by jobs in computer and electronic products.
- In Marin County, the unemployment rate declined to 2.1 percent with an increase of 400 jobs over the last year, mostly driven by construction gains, as well as increases in manufacturing and leisure and hospitality. The area lost 1,300 jobs in professional and business services over the year.
- In Sonoma County, the unemployment rate fell to 2.5 percent, and the area added 600 new jobs during the month and 3,100 jobs over the year, mostly in manufacturing.
- In Napa County, the unemployment rate declined to 2.8 percent, and 700 new jobs were added over the month, with almost half of them in leisure and hospitality.
- Los Angeles’ unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent with 4,900 jobs added over the month. The majority of the monthly increase was due to spring break, which fueled leisure and hospitality job gains. Construction reported the second largest month-over-month job jump, led by specialty trade contractors and construction of buildings. Professional, scientific and technical services, and management of companies also showed solid gains.
- Over the last year, Los Angeles gained 64,700 new jobs, led by the leisure and hospitality sectors with 19,400 jobs added over the year, primarily from accommodation and food services and arts, entertainment and recreation. Following these gains was the educational and health Ssrvices sector, up 18,400 jobs over the year, with health care and social assistance attributing 80 percent of the growth, while educational services posted the remaining industry job gains. Professional and business services followed, with gains concentrated in administrative and support and waste services, which include employment agencies. Other services posted the largest decline over the year, followed by trade, transportation and utilities.
Selma Hepp is Pacific Union’s Chief Economist and Vice President of Business Intelligence. Her previous positions include Chief Economist at Trulia, senior economist for the California Association of Realtors, and economist and manager of public policy and homeownership at the National Association of Realtors. She holds a Master of Arts in Economics from the State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo, and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning and Design from the University of Maryland.
(Promotional photo: iStock/monkeybusinessimages)