California’s unemployment rate increases in October

Despite uptick in unemployment, 11 industries across the state have added jobs

(Stephen VanHorn on AdobeStock)
(Stephen VanHorn on AdobeStock)
Darren Fraser
Published December 14, 2023  • 
10:00 am

SACRAMENTO – October employment statistics from the Employment Development Department (EDD) present a mixed snapshot of the state of the California labor market.

The EDD report, “California’s unemployment rate increases again in October,” was published Nov. 17. Despite a .1% percent increase in the state’s unemployment rate – bringing the percentage to 4.8% – California added 40,200 nonfarm payroll jobs in October. These jobs accounted for over 26% of the national job gain for the month. The numbers come from two EDD surveys.

According to the EDD, there were 18,144,200 Californians employed in October, reflecting a 28,800 decrease from September. There were 931,300 unemployed Californians in October, an increase of 17,700 compared to September and a rise of 132,800 when compared to October 2022.

Fresno County’s unemployment rate for October 2023 was 6.9%. This is based on a labor force of 458,700, with 426,900 employed residents and 31,800 unemployed. 

As for Tulare County, the unemployment rate stood at 9.6%, based on a workforce of 209,100, with 189,900 employed and 20,100 unemployed.

Among all of the state’s counties, San Mateo boasted the lowest unemployment rate at 3.2%. San Mateo has a workforce of 455,900, with 441,400 employed and 14,500 unemployed. 

At the opposite end of the scale, Imperial County stood out as the sole county of the 58 in California to have a double-digit unemployment rate. Imperial has a workforce of 74,600, with 60,200 employed and 14,400 unemployed.

Numbers are based on 356,668 people certifying for unemployment insurance in October, of which 40,709 were new unemployment claims.

JOB SURGES, DEFICITS AMID STATE FISCAL CHALLENGES

This month, as reported by the Times on Dec. 7, the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) projected the state will have a $58 billion deficit due to a shortfall in delayed tax payments. According to the LAO, California will not emerge from debt until 2024-2025 at the earliest.

But the LAO forecast may not slow the California economy. According to the EDD, since the early stages of the pandemic – April 2020 – California has added 3,236,900 jobs, roughly 77,000 new jobs each month. 

Since October 2022, the state has added over 285,000 payroll jobs. Ten of the state’s 11 industry sectors added jobs in October 2023, with private education and health services posting the most gains. Financial activities was the only industry sector to record month-over job loss.

For private education and/or health services, both sectors emerged as the stars of the job market by contributing 13,200 jobs from September 2023 to October 2023. Over the past year, from October 2022 to October 2023, these two sectors remarkably added 152,400 jobs, boasting a total of 3,141,300 payroll jobs in October 2023.

In terms of sheer numbers, the trade, transportation, and utilities sectors held the lion’s share of payroll jobs in October, with 3,160,300 positions, closely followed by professional and business services and government.

However, the information sector experienced a modest increase of a mere 400 job additions from September to October, with 572,600 total payroll jobs as of October 2023. From October 2022 to October 2023, the industry lost 32,700 jobs.

In the agricultural sector, farm jobs in the state decreased by 800 from September to October, the latter which totaled 430,500 jobs. However, the agricultural industry still showcased some resilience, as it boasted 4,800 more jobs in October 2023 than it did in October 2022. 

The job landscape in Fresno County experienced a notable shift from September 2023 to October 2023. While nonfarm employment in the county surged by 5,900 jobs, farm employment declined significantly by 6,500 jobs, equating to nearly 14%.

Amongst notable job gains, government entities in the county took the lead and posted the highest job gains during this period. Local government agencies added 2,000 jobs while state government job rolls increased by 200. However, these gains were partially offset by a 100 decrease in federal government jobs.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector exhibited some promising growth, adding 1,000 jobs month over month. Within this sector, the retail industry contributed 800 jobs, although wholesale trade took a loss of 300 jobs.

Darren Fraser
Reporter