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California unemployment continues record low 3.9 percent in January

Employers add 21,400 nonfarm jobs as record job expansion continues

NOTE TO EDITORS: This release incorporates revised historical labor force numbers and industry employment data. Each year our labor force and employment data are updated to reflect additional data inputs and estimation techniques. These benchmarked data are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, based on the same methodology used by all states.

SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate remained at its record low of 3.9 percent in January as the state’s employers added 21,400 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. The job gains in January contribute to a record job expansion in California of 119 months, surpassing the long expansion of the 1960s. California has gained 3,389,000 jobs since the current expansion began in February 2010, accounting for 15.0 percent of the nation’s 22,573,000 job gain over the same timeframe.

The California unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in January 2020, holding steady for the fourth consecutive month.

California payroll jobs totaled 17,575,800 in January 2020, up 21,400 from December 2019 and up 251,800 from January of last year.

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

  • The state’s unemployment remained at 3.9 percent1 in January, 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.
  • California’s unemployment rate has remained unchanged since August 2019 and is 0.4 percent below that of January 2019.
  • January’s 21,400 nonfarm payroll jobs2 gain was driven by growth in six of California’s 11 industry sectors. Educational and Health Services (7,900) posted the largest jobs gain, fueled mostly by Individual and Family Services. Leisure and Hospitality (7,800) also did well with strong job gains in the Art, Entertainment, and Recreation sector.
  • The federal survey data used to develop the January 2020 California labor market statistics precedes, and therefore doesn’t reflect, any economic impacts being experienced now due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in California.

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 17,575,800 in January – a net gain of 21,400 jobs from December. This followed a revised gain of 26,300 jobs in December.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs increased by 251,800 jobs (a 1.5 percent increase) from January 2019 to January 2020 compared to the U.S. annual gain of 2,137,000 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 January 2020. 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 700 jobs from December to 430,800. The agricultural industry has added 10,200 farm jobs since January 2019.

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 January was 18,756,600, an increase of 27,500 from December and up 205,600 from the employment total in January of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 735,300 in January, a decrease of 1,400 over the month and down by 78,600 compared with January 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 19,509,900 in January 2020, up 26,100 from December 2019, and up 127,000 from January of last year.

Unemployment Insurance Claims (not seasonally adjusted) In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 339,026 people receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits during the survey week in January compared to 327,751 in December and 376,402 people in January 2019. Concurrently, 45,742 people filed new claims in January which was a month-over decrease of 4,374 people.

In January 2020, there were 339,026 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits, up 11,275 from December 2019, but down 37,376 from January of last year. There were 45,742 people who filed new claims, down 4,374 from December and down 5,802 from January of last year.
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
January 2020 (Preliminary); 2019 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 19,478,700 18,638,600 840,200 4.30%
ALAMEDA 840,300 814,700 25,700 3.10%
ALPINE 650 620 30 4.60%
AMADOR 14,870 14,170 700 4.70%
BUTTE 97,900 92,400 5,400 5.60%
CALAVERAS 21,560 20,630 930 4.30%
COLUSA 10,880 8,790 2,080 19.20%
CONTRA COSTA 559,000 541,000 18,000 3.20%
DEL NORTE 9,640 9,010 630 6.50%
EL DORADO 92,300 88,900 3,500 3.70%
FRESNO 451,800 415,200 36,600 8.10%
GLENN 13,230 12,260 960 7.30%
HUMBOLDT 61,900 59,300 2,500 4.10%
IMPERIAL 73,400 59,600 13,800 18.80%
INYO 8,710 8,370 340 3.90%
KERN 395,400 361,500 33,900 8.60%
KINGS 58,000 52,600 5,500 9.40%
LAKE 29,120 27,380 1,740 6.00%
LASSEN 9,900 9,340 560 5.60%
LOS ANGELES 5,189,700 4,957,600 232,100 4.50%
MADERA 63,300 58,200 5,100 8.10%
MARIN 139,800 136,400 3,400 2.40%
MARIPOSA 7,040 6,600 440 6.20%
MENDOCINO 38,320 36,490 1,840 4.80%
MERCED 115,000 103,700 11,300 9.80%
MODOC 3,090 2,790 300 9.70%
MONO 9,130 8,800 320 3.50%
MONTEREY 214,000 193,300 20,700 9.70%
NAPA 72,300 69,800 2,500 3.50%
NEVADA 49,160 47,360 1,800 3.70%
ORANGE 1,622,700 1,576,100 46,500 2.90%
PLACER 188,600 182,400 6,200 3.30%
PLUMAS 7,500 6,710 790 10.50%
RIVERSIDE 1,107,600 1,060,800 46,800 4.20%
SACRAMENTO 715,100 687,400 27,700 3.90%
SAN BENITO 31,500 29,600 2,000 6.20%
SAN BERNARDINO 971,300 933,500 37,900 3.90%
SAN DIEGO 1,591,000 1,538,100 52,900 3.30%
SAN FRANCISCO 586,400 573,000 13,400 2.30%
SAN JOAQUIN 324,400 302,600 21,800 6.70%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 141,300 136,900 4,400 3.10%
SAN MATEO 462,400 452,500 9,800 2.10%
SANTA BARBARA 214,400 204,400 10,000 4.70%
SANTA CLARA 1,056,400 1,028,700 27,700 2.60%
SANTA CRUZ 139,400 130,800 8,600 6.20%
SHASTA 74,500 70,500 4,000 5.40%
SIERRA 1,320 1,240 80 6.20%
SISKIYOU 17,070 15,650 1,420 8.30%
SOLANO 208,700 200,300 8,400 4.00%
SONOMA 258,600 251,000 7,600 2.90%
STANISLAUS 243,100 227,100 16,000 6.60%
SUTTER 46,400 42,400 4,100 8.70%
TEHAMA 25,720 24,090 1,630 6.30%
TRINITY 4,440 4,130 310 6.90%
TULARE 204,100 181,700 22,400 11.00%
TUOLUMNE 21,470 20,420 1,050 4.90%
VENTURA 423,600 407,200 16,400 3.90%
YOLO 109,200 103,800 5,400 4.90%
YUBA 30,900 28,800 2,200 7.00%