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California unemployment rate falls to 3.9 percent in October, setting new record low

Employers add 23,600 nonfarm jobs, current expansion sets new record

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SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate fell to a new record low of 3.9 percent in October while the state’s employers added 23,600 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. The job gains in October contribute to a record job expansion in California of 116 months, surpassing the long expansion of the 1960s. California has gained 3,377,900 jobs since the expansion began in February 2010, accounting for more than 15 percent of the nation’s 22,230,000 job gain over the same timeframe.

The California unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in October 2019, down from September 2019 by 0.1 percent  and down 0.2 percent from October of last year.

California payroll jobs totaled 17,567,500 in October 2019, up 23,600 from September 2019 and up 308,000 from October of last year.

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

  • The state’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent1 in October, setting a new 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 then.
  • California’s record low unemployment rate in October contrasts a 0.1 percentage point rise in the national unemployment rate to 3.6 percent for the month.
  • October’s 23,600 nonfarm payroll2 gain extended California’s current job expansion to an all-time record of 116 months. Gains were widespread across a number of industry sectors with education and health services increasing by 6,500 jobs, led by growth in social assistance. Government (5,400) and financial activities (5,300) also showed large increases.
  • A good start to holiday hiring in retail helped propel a gain in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (4,700).

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 17,567,500 in October – a net gain of 23,600 jobs from September. This followed a revised gain of 26,700 jobs in September.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs increased by 308,000 jobs (a 1.8 percent increase) from October 2018 to October 2019 compared to the U.S. annual gain of 2,093,000 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 October 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 200 jobs from September to 432,500. The agricultural industry has added 4,000 farm jobs since October 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 October was 18,676,800, an increase of 50,000 from September, but down 24,000 from the employment total in October of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 765,300 in October, a decrease of 9,100 over the month and down by 33,400 compared with October 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 19,442,100 in October 2019, up 40,800 from September 2019, but down 57,400 from October of last year.

Unemployment Insurance Claims (not seasonally adjusted) In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 260,709 people receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits during the survey week in October compared to 281,060 in September and 272,542 people in October 2018. Concurrently, 39,401 people filed new claims in October which was a month-over increase of 4,073 people.

In October 2019, there were 260,709 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits, down 20,351 from September 2019 and down 11,833 from October of last year. There were 39,401 people who filed new claims, up 4,073 from September and down 631 from October of last year.
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
October 2019 (Preliminary); 2018 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

STATE TOTAL

19,587,500

18,869,200

718,300

3.7%

ALAMEDA

860,100

837,600

22,400

2.6%

ALPINE

470

440

20

5.2%

AMADOR

15,060

14,570

480

3.2%

BUTTE

104,400

100,400

4,000

3.8%

CALAVERAS

21,610

20,910

700

3.2%

COLUSA

11,090

10,280

810

7.3%

CONTRA COSTA

571,900

556,300

15,500

2.7%

DEL NORTE

9,890

9,400

490

4.9%

EL DORADO

92,200

89,400

2,800

3.0%

FRESNO

451,400

425,000

26,400

5.8%

GLENN

13,270

12,690

580

4.4%

HUMBOLDT

64,200

62,300

1,900

2.9%

IMPERIAL

73,800

58,100

15,700

21.2%

INYO

8,700

8,450

250

2.9%

KERN

393,300

369,200

24,100

6.1%

KINGS

57,900

54,300

3,600

6.3%

LAKE

29,820

28,600

1,220

4.1%

LASSEN

10,570

10,230

340

3.2%

LOS ANGELES

5,161,500

4,928,500

233,000

4.5%

MADERA

61,700

58,400

3,300

5.4%

MARIN

143,000

140,100

2,900

2.0%

MARIPOSA

7,750

7,490

260

3.4%

MENDOCINO

39,520

38,300

1,210

3.1%

MERCED

118,600

111,800

6,900

5.8%

MODOC

3,230

3,080

150

4.6%

MONO

8,400

8,090

310

3.6%

MONTEREY

228,200

219,700

8,400

3.7%

NAPA

75,400

73,600

1,700

2.3%

NEVADA

48,080

46,690

1,400

2.9%

ORANGE

1,633,900

1,592,600

41,300

2.5%

PLACER

186,900

181,800

5,200

2.8%

PLUMAS

7,890

7,500

390

4.9%

RIVERSIDE

1,106,100

1,062,800

43,300

3.9%

SACRAMENTO

716,000

692,800

23,200

3.2%

SAN BENITO

31,400

30,100

1,300

4.1%

SAN BERNARDINO

973,500

939,800

33,700

3.5%

SAN DIEGO

1,609,400

1,563,600

45,800

2.8%

SAN FRANCISCO

591,500

579,900

11,600

2.0%

SAN JOAQUIN

327,500

311,200

16,300

5.0%

SAN LUIS OBISPO

143,500

140,000

3,500

2.4%

SAN MATEO

467,200

458,700

8,500

1.8%

SANTA BARBARA

218,500

211,900

6,600

3.0%

SANTA CLARA

1,070,800

1,046,800

24,000

2.2%

SANTA CRUZ

144,300

139,400

4,800

3.3%

SHASTA

74,900

72,000

2,800

3.8%

SIERRA

1,370

1,310

50

3.9%

SISKIYOU

17,600

16,810

790

4.5%

SOLANO

209,200

202,400

6,800

3.3%

SONOMA

264,000

257,900

6,000

2.3%

STANISLAUS

244,600

232,700

11,900

4.9%

SUTTER

45,200

42,800

2,400

5.3%

TEHAMA

26,480

25,340

1,140

4.3%

TRINITY

4,730

4,520

210

4.4%

TULARE

202,800

186,500

16,300

8.0%

TUOLUMNE

21,680

20,890

780

3.6%

VENTURA

424,200

410,300

13,900

3.3%

YOLO

108,800

105,300

3,500

3.2%

YUBA

29,100

27,600

1,500

5.1%