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California’s unemployment falls to 11.4 percent in August

Employers gain 101,900 nonfarm payroll jobs

IMPORTANT NOTE: The employment data for the month of August 2020 is taken from the survey week including August 12. Data for the survey week including September 12 is scheduled for release on October 16.

SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate improved to 11.4 percent in August as the state’s employers added 101,900 jobs1, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. This comes after July’s downward-revised gain of 83,500 jobs (-23,600 jobs from previously reported gain). California has now regained nearly a third (33.9 percent) of the 2,615,800 nonfarm jobs lost during March and April as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The California unemployment rate was 11.4 percent in August 2020, down from 13.5 percent last month but up from 3.9 percent from August of last year.
California payroll jobs totaled 15,874,400 in August 2020, up 101,900 from last month but down 1,598,200 from August of last year.

California’s Labor Market, by the Numbers...

  • August’s unemployment rate of 11.4 percent2 marked the first month since March 2020 that California’s unemployment rate was lower than the 12.3 percent mark set during the height of the Great Recession (March, October, and November 2010).
  • The month-over decrease in California’s unemployment rate (-2.1 percentage points) was larger than that of the nation as a whole (-1.8 percentage points).
  • Six of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs last month. Government (+66,100) had the largest job gain due to federal temporary hiring for the 2020 Census and growth in local government education. Trade, Transportation, & Utilities’ increase (+26,000) was buoyed by Transportation and Warehousing and general merchandise stores.
  • Leisure and Hospitality posted the largest industry job loss in August (-14,600), and 561,900 of the sector’s 633,000 year-over job losses have occurred since March 2020.

1. The nonfarm payroll job numbers come from a federal survey of 80,000 California businesses.
2. The unemployment rate comes from a separate federal survey of 5,100 California households.

Data Trends about Jobs in the Economy

Total Nonfarm Payroll Jobs

This information comes from a monthly survey of approximately 80,000 California businesses that estimates jobs in the economy – seasonally adjusted.

  • Month-over – Total nonfarm jobs in California’s 11 major industries totaled 15,874,400 in August – a net gain of 101,900 jobs from July. This followed a downward- revised (-23,600) gain of 83,500 jobs in July.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,598,200 (a 9.1 percent decrease) from August 2019 to August 2020 compared to the U.S. annual loss of 10,246,000 jobs (a 6.8 percent decrease).
Major Industries Month-over Change (July 2020–August 2020) Year-over Change (August 2019–August 2020) Total Payroll Jobs as of August 2020
Government +66,100 -123,300 2,491,500
Trade, Transportation, Utilities +26,000 -208,300 2,847,900
Professional and Business Services +19,400 -159,200 2,573,600
Education and Health Services +7,900 -135,600 2,684,400
Construction +6,700 -52,000 839,300
Manufacturing +900 -99,600 1,219,200
Financial Activities -100 -6,200 837,100
Mining and Logging -400 -1,000 21,500
Information -4,300 -52,100 511,000
Other Services -5,700 -127,900 450,400
Leisure and Hospitality -14,600 -633,000 1,398,500

Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry decreased by 3,400 from July, to 326,800 jobs in August 2020. The agricultural industry has lost 101,100 farm jobs since August 2019.

Data Trends about Workers in the Economy

Employment and Unemployment in California

This information is based on a monthly federal survey of 5,100 California households which focuses on workers in the economy.

  • Employed – The number of Californians holding jobs in August was 16,574,300, an increase of 291,700 jobs from a downward-revised (-11,300) July, but down 2,081,600 from the employment total in August of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 2,134,600 in August, a decrease of 408,700 over the month, but up by 1,370,800 compared with August of last year.
California Labor Force Month-over Change (July 2020–August 2020) Year-over Change (August 2019–August 2020)
* Civilian Labor Force (18,708,800) -117,100 -710,900
Total Civilian Employment (16,574,300) +291,700 -2,081,600
Unemployment (2,134,600) -408,700 +1,370,800

* Labor force by place of residence, including workers involved in trade disputes.

Unemployment Insurance Claims (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

The following data is from a sample week that includes the 19th of each month: In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 2,837,209 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the August 2020 sample week. That compares to 3,144,098 people in July 2020 and 309,691 people in August 2019. Concurrently, 196,855 initial claims were processed in the August 2020 sample week, which was a month-over decrease of 47,651 claims from July 2020, but a year-over increase of 162,080 claims from August 2019.

California Unemployment Insurance Claims Month-over Change (July 2020–August 2020) Year-over Change (August 2020–August 2020)
UI Recipients (2,837,209) -306,889 +2,527,518
New UI Claims (196,855) -47,651 +162,080
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
August 2020 (Preliminary); 2019 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 18,729,400 16,557,600 2,171,800 11.6%
ALAMEDA 806,200 727,100 79,200 9.8%
ALPINE 460 410 50 11.2%
AMADOR 14,200 12,880 1,320 9.3%
BUTTE 93,200 84,800 8,400 9.0%
CALAVERAS 20,570 19,020 1,550 7.5%
COLUSA 10,070 8,970 1,100 11.0%
CONTRA COSTA 535,700 483,200 52,400 9.8%
DEL NORTE 9,370 8,490 880 9.4%
EL DORADO 88,500 81,400 7,100 8.0%
FRESNO 444,200 395,800 48,400 10.9%
GLENN 12,410 11,400 1,010 8.1%
HUMBOLDT 59,200 54,200 4,900 8.4%
IMPERIAL 69,200 53,400 15,900 22.9%
INYO 8,190 7,580 610 7.4%
KERN 370,700 322,200 48,500 13.1%
KINGS 55,500 49,600 5,900 10.7%
LAKE 28,640 26,100 2,530 8.8%
LASSEN 8,970 8,370 600 6.7%
LOS ANGELES 4,929,600 4,111,400 818,300 16.6%
MADERA 61,800 55,600 6,200 10.0%
MARIN 132,400 123,200 9,300 7.0%
MARIPOSA 7,790 7,130 670 8.5%
MENDOCINO 36,840 33,620 3,230 8.8%
MERCED 113,200 100,400 12,800 11.3%
MODOC 3,060 2,860 210 6.8%
MONO 6,890 6,090 800 11.6%
MONTEREY 195,400 177,100 18,300 9.4%
NAPA 71,600 65,600 5,900 8.3%
NEVADA 45,510 41,860 3,650 8.0%
ORANGE 1,556,200 1,402,400 153,800 9.9%
PLACER 181,000 167,000 14,000 7.7%
PLUMAS 7,890 7,240 650 8.2%
RIVERSIDE 1,082,900 962,100 120,700 11.2%
SACRAMENTO 701,900 629,500 72,400 10.3%
SAN BENITO 30,400 27,600 2,800 9.2%
SAN BERNARDINO 949,900 847,600 102,400 10.8%
SAN DIEGO 1,559,100 1,404,700 154,300 9.9%
SAN FRANCISCO 565,700 515,900 49,800 8.8%
SAN JOAQUIN 322,100 283,700 38,400 11.9%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 129,600 119,500 10,200 7.8%
SAN MATEO 440,500 407,600 33,000 7.5%
SANTA BARBARA 210,600 193,800 16,800 8.0%
SANTA CLARA 1,024,100 947,200 76,900 7.5%
SANTA CRUZ 130,900 119,600 11,300 8.6%
SHASTA 72,700 66,700 6,000 8.3%
SIERRA 1,220 1,120 90 7.7%
SISKIYOU 15,790 14,350 1,440 9.1%
SOLANO 201,700 181,000 20,700 10.3%
SONOMA 252,000 232,500 19,500 7.7%
STANISLAUS 236,000 210,300 25,700 10.9%
SUTTER 41,800 37,300 4,400 10.7%
TEHAMA 24,310 22,170 2,140 8.8%
TRINITY 4,510 4,200 310 6.8%
TULARE 189,400 164,600 24,800 13.1%
TUOLUMNE 19,560 17,560 2,000 10.2%
VENTURA 406,500 369,600 36,900 9.1%
YOLO 103,800 96,000 7,800 7.5%
YUBA 28,000 25,000 3,000 10.8%