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California unemployment holds at record low 3.9 percent in December

Employers add 12,600 nonfarm jobs as record job expansion continues

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SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate held steadfast at its record low of 3.9 percent in December as the state’s employers added 12,600 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. The job gains in December contribute to a record job expansion in California of 118 months, surpassing the long expansion of the 1960s. California has gained 3,422,900 jobs since the current expansion began in February 2010, accounting for more than 15 percent of the nation’s 22,688,000 job gain over the same timeframe.

The California unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in December 2019, holding steady from November.

California payroll jobs totaled 17,612,500 in December 2019, up 12,600 from November 2019 and up 310,300 from December of last year.

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

  • The state’s unemployment remained at 3.9 percent1 in December, maintaining a record low in a data series going back to the 1970s. The number of unemployed Californians is the lowest since 1989, despite large gains in statewide population since.
  • The nation’s unemployment rate also remained unchanged in December, holding at 3.5 percent.
  • December’s 12,600 nonfarm payroll jobs2 gain was driven by growth in 6 of California’s 11 industry sectors. Professional & Business Services (6,500) posted the biggest jobs gain, fueled mostly by scientific research and development and advertising and related services. Educational & Health Services (5,200) also did well with job gains in dental offices and in-home supportive services leading the way.
  • Information, one of November’s top job-gaining sectors, posted December’s biggest jobs loss (-3,900) mainly due to weakness last month in the motion picture and sound recording subsector.

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

Data Trends about Jobs in the Economy

Total Nonfarm Payroll Jobs (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 17,612,500 in December – a net gain of 12,600 jobs from November. This followed a revised gain of 24,000 jobs in November.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs increased by 310,300 jobs (a 1.8 percent increase) from December 2018 to December 2019 compared to the U.S. annual gain of 2,108,000 jobs (a 1.4 percent increase).
This table shows the number of California nonfarm payroll jobs grouped by major industries, with columns showing month-over and year-over change, plus total payroll jobs as of December 2019. If you need an alternative format to access this information, contact the EDD Equal Employment Opportunity Office at EEOmail@edd.ca.gov or call toll free 1-866-490-8879.

Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry increased by 3,100 jobs from November to 439,100. The agricultural industry has added 7,800 farm jobs since December 2018.

Data Trends about Workers in the Economy

Employment and Unemployment in California (Based on monthly federal survey of 5,100 California households which focuses on workers in the economy)

  • Employed – The number of Californians holding jobs in December was 18,786,800, an increase of 56,400 from November and up 81,800 from the employment total in December of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 757,700 in December, a decrease of 4,100 over the month and down by 44,900 compared with December of last year.
This table summarizes data from the prior text and adds that the civilian labor force (which is the labor force by place of residence, including workers involved in trading disputes) totaled 19,544,500 in December 2019, up 52,300 from November 2019, and up 36,900 from December of last year.

Unemployment Insurance Claims (not seasonally adjusted) In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 327,751 people receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits during the survey week in December compared to 293,595 in November and 338,747 people in December 2018. Concurrently, 50,116 people filed new claims in December which was a month-over increase of 680 people.

In December 2019, there were 327,751 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits, up 24,156 from November 2019, but down 10,990 from December of last year. There were 50,116 people who filed new claims, up 680 from November and up 1,432 from December of last year.
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
December 2019 (Preliminary); 2018 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 19,588,400 18,869,300 719,100 3.7%
ALAMEDA 858,600 837,100 21,500 2.5%
ALPINE 610 590 20 3.8%
AMADOR 14,810 14,270 540 3.7%
BUTTE 102,700 98,400 4,300 4.2%
CALAVERAS 21,500 20,750 740 3.5%
COLUSA 10,650 9,140 1,510 14.2%
CONTRA COSTA 570,700 555,600 15,100 2.6%
DEL NORTE 9,690 9,150 540 5.6%
EL DORADO 92,300 89,500 2,900 3.1%
FRESNO 453,100 421,600 31,500 6.9%
GLENN 12,940 12,230 710 5.5%
HUMBOLDT 63,700 61,800 1,900 3.1%
IMPERIAL 73,800 59,500 14,300 19.4%
INYO 8,640 8,370 270 3.1%
KERN 385,600 357,700 27,900 7.2%
KINGS 58,300 53,800 4,500 7.7%
LAKE 29,120 27,650 1,470 5.1%
LASSEN 9,700 9,290 400 4.2%
LOS ANGELES 5,194,800 4,986,700 208,000 4.0%
MADERA 61,800 57,600 4,200 6.8%
MARIN 142,900 140,200 2,800 1.9%
MARIPOSA 6,930 6,620 320 4.6%
MENDOCINO 39,030 37,580 1,450 3.7%
MERCED 115,600 106,500 9,100 7.9%
MODOC 3,040 2,830 220 7.1%
MONO 9,350 9,070 280 3.0%
MONTEREY 214,500 199,100 15,400 7.2%
NAPA 72,800 70,700 2,100 2.9%
NEVADA 48,690 47,260 1,430 2.9%
ORANGE 1,633,200 1,593,500 39,700 2.4%
PLACER 187,100 182,000 5,100 2.7%
PLUMAS 7,470 6,880 590 7.8%
RIVERSIDE 1,111,200 1,070,400 40,800 3.7%
SACRAMENTO 717,100 694,000 23,100 3.2%
SAN BENITO 31,200 29,600 1,500 5.0%
SAN BERNARDINO 979,000 946,500 32,500 3.3%
SAN DIEGO 1,614,200 1,569,400 44,800 2.8%
SAN FRANCISCO 591,700 580,400 11,300 1.9%
SAN JOAQUIN 325,100 306,600 18,500 5.7%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 140,100 136,600 3,600 2.5%
SAN MATEO 467,100 458,900 8,200 1.8%
SANTA BARBARA 215,800 208,000 7,800 3.6%
SANTA CLARA 1,073,900 1,050,600 23,300 2.2%
SANTA CRUZ 139,900 133,100 6,800 4.9%
SHASTA 73,500 70,400 3,100 4.2%
SIERRA 1,310 1,250 60 4.7%
SISKIYOU 17,140 16,050 1,090 6.3%
SOLANO 207,700 200,700 7,000 3.4%
SONOMA 262,600 256,400 6,200 2.4%
STANISLAUS 241,900 228,300 13,600 5.6%
SUTTER 45,700 42,400 3,300 7.3%
TEHAMA 25,490 24,250 1,250 4.9%
TRINITY 4,550 4,310 240 5.2%
TULARE 203,700 184,700 19,000 9.3%
TUOLUMNE 21,600 20,750 850 3.9%
VENTURA 424,000 409,600 14,400 3.4%
YOLO 109,500 105,200 4,300 3.9%
YUBA 29,700 28,000 1,700 5.8%