Contact: Loree Levy/Aubrey Henry
May 22, 2020
NR No. 20-20
California unemployment rate rose to record 15.5 percent in April
Employers lost an unprecedented 2,344,700 nonfarm jobs
IMPORTANT NOTE: The employment data for the month of April 2020 is taken from the survey week including April 12. Data for the survey week including May 12 is scheduled for release on June 19.
SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate rose to a record high 15.5 percent in April as the state’s employers lost 2,344,700 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. The unprecedented job losses are like nothing before seen in California history in a current data series that dates back to 1976, and are a direct result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
California’s Labor Market, by the Numbers...
- The state’s unemployment rate spiked an unprecedented 10 percent in April to 15.5 percent1, eclipsing the previous record high rate in the current data series of 12.3 percent at the height of the Great Recession (March, October, and November of 2010).
- California’s month-over non-farm payroll job loss of 2,344,7002 for April is the largest on record. And in just one month, that total is over one million more than the job loss during the 2 ½ year long recession (-1,318,400 from July 2007 - February 2010).
- The number of unemployed Californians rose to almost 2.9 million over just two months, surpassing the previous 2.2 million peak during the recession that took more than two years to reach.
- Every one of California’s 11 industry sectors lost jobs in April. The Leisure & Hospitality industry posted the largest job loss (-866,200), which was more than double that of Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-388,700), the state’s second-largest industry sector loss. Mining & Logging (-500) posted the smallest job loss.
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
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 15,049,300 in April – a net loss of 2,344,700 jobs from March. This followed a revised loss of 210,500 jobs in March.
- Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 2,324,000 jobs (a 13.4 percent decrease) from April 2019 to April 2020 compared to the U.S. annual loss of 19,420,000 jobs (a 12.9 percent decrease).
|Major Industries||Month-over Change (March 2020–April 2020)||Year-over Change (March 2019–April 2020)||Total Payroll Jobs as of April 2020|
|Leisure and Hospitality||-866,200||-934,700||1,094,200|
|Trade, Transportation, Utilities||-388,700||-380,700||2,666,300|
|Education and Health Services||-280,400||-238,600||2,548,100|
|Professional and Business Services||-242,800||-237,400||2,476,100|
|Mining and Logging||-500||-400||22,200|
Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry decreased by 94,500 jobs from March to 322,500. The agricultural industry has lost 94,300 farm jobs since April 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 April was 15,682,900, a decrease of 2,432,900 from March and down 2,852,700 from the employment total in April of last year.
- Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 2,885,300 in April, an increase of 1,833,100 over the month and up by 2,078,800 compared with April of last year.
|California Labor Force||Month-over Change (March 2020–April 2020)||Year-over Change (April 2019–April 2020)|
|* Civilian Labor Force (18,658,200)||-599,800||-733,900|
|Total Civilian Employment (15,682,900)||-2,432,900||-2,852,700|
* 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 1,889,250 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the April 2020 sample week. This is a sample week that includes the 19th of each month. That compares to 424,645 people in the sample week of March 2020 and 364,431 people in the sample week of April 2019. Concurrently, 325,516 initial claims were processed in the April 2020 sample week, which was a month-over increase of 139,037 claims from March 2020 and a year-over increase of 281,485 claims from April 2019.
|California Unemployment Insurance Claims||Month-over Change (March 2020–April 2020)||Year-over Change (April 2019–April 2020)|
|UI Recipients (1,889,250)||+1,464,605||+1,524,819|
|New UI Claims (325,516)||+139,037||+281,485|
|SAN LUIS OBISPO||135,100||116,500||18,600||13.7%|