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California unemployment increased 0.9% since November 2020

Employers lost 52,200 nonfarm payroll jobs
First increase in month-over-month unemployment since April 2020

IMPORTANT NOTE: The employment data for the month of December 2020 is taken from the survey week including Dec. 12. Data for the month of January is scheduled for release on March 12, 2021.

SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate rose 0.9 percentage points to 9.0 percent in December as the state’s employers lost 52,200 jobs1, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. This comes after the state saw a job gain in November (+5,200 jobs). Despite December’s losses, California has regained more than 44 percent of the 2,615,800 nonfarm jobs that were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April.

The California unemployment rate was 9 percent in December 2020, up from 8.1 percent from November 2020 and up from December 2019’s rate of 3.9 percent.
California payroll jobs totaled 16,144,400 in December 2020, down 52,200 from December 2020, and down 1,410,000 from December of last year.

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

  • California’s month-over unemployment rate increased from 8.1 percent in November to 9.0 in December2 marking the state’s first month-over rate increase since April 2020.
  • Despite the decline, six of California’s 11 industry sectors saw job gains last month. Construction had the state’s largest month-over increase (+31,600) thanks to strong gains in Specialty Trade Contractors and Construction of Buildings.
  • Professional and Business Services had the state’s second-largest month-over increase (+29,600) due to large gains in Accounting, Tax Preparation, and Bookkeeping, as well as Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting.
  • Leisure and Hospitality suffered the largest month-over loss (-117,000) largely due to severe losses in Accommodation and Food Services, which accounted for 83.2 percent of the industry sector’s overall loss.

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 16,144,400 in December – a net loss of 52,200 jobs from November. This followed an upward-revision of 5,200 jobs for a revised gain of 62,300 jobs in November.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,410,000 (an 8.0 percent decrease) from December 2019 to December 2020 compared to the U.S. annual loss of 9,374,000 jobs (a 6.2 percent decrease).
Major Industries Month-over Change (Nov. 2020–Dec. 2020) Year-over Change (Dec. 2019–Dec. 2020) Total Payroll Jobs as of Dec. 2020
Construction +31,600 +2,900 892,000
Professional and Business Services +29,600 -68,900 2,679,300
Trade, Transportation, Utilities +8,600 -138,600 2,917,800
Education and Health Services +6,100 -135,200 2,707,500
Information +5,200 -44,400 528,600
Government +700 -199,800 2,426,400
Mining and Logging -300 -1,500 21,100
Financial Activities -2,100 +4,400 850,000
Manufacturing -3,600 -99,900 1,221,800
Other Services -11,000 -118,100 463,300
Leisure and Hospitality -117,000 -610,900 1,436,400

Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry increased by 24,300 from November 2020 to 380,800 jobs in December. The agricultural industry has lost 49,300 farm jobs since December 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 with jobs in December was 17,260,100, a decrease of 91,700 jobs since November, and down 1,469,000 from December of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 1,700,400 in December, an increase of 163,700 over the month, and up by 945,700 in comparison to December of last year.
California Labor Force Month-over Change (Nov. 2020–Dec. 2020) Year-over Change (Dec. 2019–Dec. 2020)
* Civilian Labor Force (18,960,500) +72,000 -523,300
Total Civilian Employment (17,260,100) -91,700 -1,469,000
Unemployment (1,700,400) +163,700 +945,700

* 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 1,007,331 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the December 2020 sample week. That compares to 1,278,220 people in November 2020 and 327,751 people in December 2019. Concurrently, 159,092 initial claims were processed in the December 2020 sample week, a month-over decrease of 9,896 claims from November 2020, but a year-over increase of 108,976 claims from December 2019.

California Unemployment Insurance Claims Month-over Change (Nov. 2020–Dec. 2020) Year-over Change (Dec. 2019–Dec. 2020)
UI Recipients (1,007,331) -270,889 +679,580
New UI Claims (159,092) -9,896 +108,976
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
December 2020 (Preliminary); 2019 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 18,916,400 17,246,800 1,669,600 8.8%
ALAMEDA 819,800 757,100 62,700 7.6%
ALPINE 630 580 50 7.3%
AMADOR 14,290 13,090 1,200 8.4%
BUTTE 93,800 86,100 7,700 8.2%
CALAVERAS 20,410 18,920 1,490 7.3%
COLUSA 9,660 8,160 1,500 15.5%
CONTRA COSTA 545,800 502,800 43,000 7.9%
DEL NORTE 9,230 8,390 850 9.2%
EL DORADO 90,800 84,400 6,300 7.0%
FRESNO 445,500 399,300 46,200 10.4%
GLENN 12,610 11,640 970 7.7%
HUMBOLDT 60,700 56,200 4,500 7.5%
IMPERIAL 67,100 55,300 11,900 17.7%
INYO 8,230 7,660 570 6.9%
KERN 377,500 334,900 42,600 11.3%
KINGS 56,000 49,900 6,200 11.0%
LAKE 28,610 26,050 2,560 9.0%
LASSEN 9,290 8,630 660 7.1%
LOS ANGELES 4,896,200 4,374,500 521,600 10.7%
MADERA 61,500 55,400 6,100 9.9%
MARIN 134,100 126,800 7,400 5.5%
MARIPOSA 7,160 6,420 740 10.3%
MENDOCINO 36,300 33,370 2,920 8.1%
MERCED 113,600 100,500 13,100 11.5%
MODOC 3,060 2,780 270 8.9%
MONO 8,300 7,570 740 8.9%
MONTEREY 188,700 167,200 21,500 11.4%
NAPA 71,100 65,900 5,200 7.3%
NEVADA 47,420 44,180 3,230 6.8%
ORANGE 1,598,700 1,479,700 119,100 7.4%
PLACER 184,900 173,400 11,500 6.2%
PLUMAS 7,310 6,530 780 10.7%
RIVERSIDE 1,108,600 1,008,300 100,400 9.1%
SACRAMENTO 714,700 653,600 61,100 8.5%
SAN BENITO 30,800 28,100 2,700 8.7%
SAN BERNARDINO 977,800 887,700 90,000 9.2%
SAN DIEGO 1,593,900 1,466,500 127,400 8.0%
SAN FRANCISCO 566,200 529,900 36,300 6.4%
SAN JOAQUIN 325,500 290,800 34,700 10.6%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 131,700 122,800 8,900 6.7%
SAN MATEO 444,300 418,600 25,700 5.8%
SANTA BARBARA 211,500 195,500 16,100 7.6%
SANTA CLARA 1,040,900 979,000 61,900 5.9%
SANTA CRUZ 127,600 116,700 10,800 8.5%
SHASTA 73,400 67,500 5,900 8.0%
SIERRA 1,290 1,200 90 7.0%
SISKIYOU 15,160 13,540 1,620 10.7%
SOLANO 206,100 187,900 18,200 8.8%
SONOMA 250,600 234,400 16,200 6.5%
STANISLAUS 235,100 211,700 23,400 9.9%
SUTTER 41,700 37,200 4,500 10.9%
TEHAMA 24,040 21,960 2,090 8.7%
TRINITY 4,250 3,900 360 8.4%
TULARE 194,100 171,200 22,900 11.8%
TUOLUMNE 19,680 17,810 1,870 9.5%
VENTURA 413,800 382,700 31,100 7.5%
YOLO 106,500 99,100 7,500 7.0%
YUBA 28,800 25,800 3,000 10.4%