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California unemployment rate dips to 4.2 percent in May

Employers add 19,400 nonfarm payroll jobs

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SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.2 percent in May while the state’s employers added 19,400 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. California has now gained 3,235,900 jobs since the economic expansion began in February 2010.

The California unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in May 2019, down 0.1% from April but the same as May of last year.

California payroll jobs totaled 17,425,500 in May 2019, up 19,400 from April and up 282,700 from May of last year.

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

  • The state’s unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.2 percent1, still hovering near California’s record low unemployment rate of 4.1 percent set in July through December 2018. The U.S. unemployment rate held at 3.6 percent in May.
  • California’s 19,400 job2 gain accounted for 26 percent of the nation’s total 75,000 job gain for the month.
  • The state’s 111-month employment expansion is the second-longest on record behind the 113-month long expansion of the 1960s.
  • California has gained 3,235,900 jobs since the current economic expansion began in February 2010, averaging over 29,000 jobs gained per month over the period – far more than the 8-9,000 jobs needed each month to accommodate people entering the labor force.
  • Seven of California’s 11 major industry sectors gained jobs in May. The biggest increase of 12,800 jobs came in construction, reflecting an increase in home building. That’s followed by a gain of 4,500 jobs in leisure and hospitality on the strength of the state’s tourism industry, and a 1,800 job gain in government.

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 17,425,500 in May – a net gain of 19,400 jobs from April. This followed a revised gain of 46,000 jobs in April.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs increased by 282,700 jobs (a 1.6 percent increase) from May 2018 to May 2019.
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 May 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 decreased by 12,500 from April to 429,800. The agricultural industry has added 8,700 farm jobs since May 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 May was 18,653,000, a decrease of 39,400 from April and up 130,000 from the employment total in May of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 826,000 in May, a decrease of 10,400 over the month and up by 6,400 compared with May 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 19,479,000, down 49,800 from April but up 136,400 from May of last year.

Unemployment Insurance Claims (not seasonally adjusted) In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 321,372 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the survey week in May compared to 364,431 in April and 337,974 people in May 2018. Concurrently, 38,396 people filed new claims in May which was a month-over decrease of 5,635.

In May 2019, there were 321,372 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits, down 43,059 from April and down 16,602 from May of last year. There were 38,396 people who filed new claims, down 5,635 from April and down 3,366 from May of last year.
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
May 2019 (Preliminary); 2018 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 19,287,100 18,609,100 678,000 3.5%
ALAMEDA 845,500 824,200 21,200 2.5%
ALPINE 470 440 30 6.0%
AMADOR 15,050 14,560 490 3.2%
BUTTE 102,400 98,000 4,400 4.3%
CALAVERAS 21,300 20,610 690 3.3%
COLUSA 11,130 9,980 1,150 10.4%
CONTRA COSTA 562,000 547,200 14,800 2.6%
DEL NORTE 9,670 9,210 460 4.7%
EL DORADO 91,300 88,500 2,800 3.1%
FRESNO 453,700 424,800 28,900 6.4%
GLENN 12,750 12,030 720 5.6%
HUMBOLDT 63,100 61,300 1,800 2.9%
IMPERIAL 69,000 57,700 11,300 16.4%
INYO 8,620 8,360 260 3.0%
KERN 387,300 359,600 27,700 7.2%
KINGS 57,900 54,000 3,900 6.7%
LAKE 29,200 27,990 1,220 4.2%
LASSEN 9,860 9,470 390 4.0%
LOS ANGELES 5,072,100 4,872,600 199,400 3.9%
MADERA 61,200 57,300 3,800 6.3%
MARIN 140,100 137,500 2,700 1.9%
MARIPOSA 7,760 7,470 290 3.7%
MENDOCINO 39,210 37,960 1,240 3.2%
MERCED 115,500 107,100 8,400 7.3%
MODOC 3,150 2,960 180 5.8%
MONO 8,470 8,210 270 3.1%
MONTEREY 229,600 218,800 10,800 4.7%
NAPA 74,600 72,900 1,700 2.3%
NEVADA 47,810 46,390 1,420 3.0%
ORANGE 1,606,000 1,567,500 38,600 2.4%
PLACER 185,100 180,000 5,100 2.7%
PLUMAS 8,030 7,520 500 6.3%
RIVERSIDE 1,082,300 1,043,600 38,600 3.6%
SACRAMENTO 709,600 686,800 22,800 3.2%
SAN BENITO 31,000 29,600 1,400 4.5%
SAN BERNARDINO 953,200 921,300 31,900 3.3%
SAN DIEGO 1,581,100 1,537,600 43,500 2.8%
SAN FRANCISCO 580,100 569,300 10,800 1.9%
SAN JOAQUIN 325,800 309,100 16,700 5.1%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 140,500 137,200 3,400 2.4%
SAN MATEO 458,100 450,100 8,000 1.7%
SANTA BARBARA 218,000 211,600 6,400 2.9%
SANTA CLARA 1,051,000 1,028,800 22,200 2.1%
SANTA CRUZ 142,900 137,300 5,600 3.9%
SHASTA 73,100 70,100 3,000 4.1%
SIERRA 1,290 1,220 60 4.7%
SISKIYOU 17,170 16,250 930 5.4%
SOLANO 206,500 199,700 6,800 3.3%
SONOMA 260,700 254,800 5,900 2.3%
STANISLAUS 241,400 227,900 13,500 5.6%
SUTTER 45,400 42,400 3,000 6.7%
TEHAMA 25,280 24,010 1,260 5.0%
TRINITY 4,650 4,440 220 4.6%
TULARE 207,500 190,600 16,900 8.1%
TUOLUMNE 21,210 20,380 830 3.9%
VENTURA 423,200 410,700 12,500 3.0%
YOLO 108,600 104,900 3,700 3.4%
YUBA 28,700 27,100 1,600 5.5%