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California unemployment drops to single digits in October

Employers gain 145,500 nonfarm payroll jobs

IMPORTANT NOTE: The employment data for the month of October 2020 is taken from the survey week including Oct. 12. Data for the month of November is scheduled for release on Dec. 18.

SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate dropped 1.8 percent to 9.3 percent in October as the state’s employers added 145,500 jobs1, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. It is the third-highest single-month job gain in the current data series that dates back to 1990. This comes after September’s upward-revised gain of 102,400 jobs (+6,400 jobs from previously reported gain). California has now regained nearly 44 percent of the 2,615,800 nonfarm jobs that were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April.

The California unemployment rate was 9.3 percent in October 2020, down from 11.1 percent from September 2020, but up from October 2019’s rate of 3.9 percent.
California payroll jobs totaled 16,134,200 in October 2020, up 145,500 from September 2020, but up 1,369,400 from October of last year.

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

  • At 9.3 percent2, October marks the first month since March 2020 that California’s unemployment rate was below 10 percent and the fifth straight month it fell below the all-time unemployment rate high of 16.4 percent set in April and May of this year.
  • Nine of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs last month. For the second consecutive month, Leisure & Hospitality had the largest job gain with an increase of 66,000 jobs thanks to large growth in Accommodation and Food Services as well as Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation.
  • Professional & Business Services posted an increase of 35,800 jobs and was boosted by gains in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.
  • Government posted the largest industry job loss with a decline of 41,100 in October due to losses in Federal Government employment largely stemming from staffing reductions in census workers.

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

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 16,134,200 in October – a net gain of 145,500 jobs from September. This followed an upward-revision of 6,400 jobs for a revised gain of 102,400 jobs in September.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,369,400 (a 7.8 percent decrease) from October 2019 to October 2020 compared to the U.S. annual loss of 9,180,000 jobs (a 6.1 percent decrease).
Major Industries Month-over Change (Sept. 2020–Oct. 2020) Year-over Change (Oct. 2019–Oct. 2020) Total Payroll Jobs as of October 2020
Leisure and Hospitality +66,000 -518,400 1,525,700
Professional and Business Services +35,800 -109,800 2,624,100
Construction +26,300 -20,600 869,300
Trade, Transportation, Utilities +22,700 -160,900 2,895,500
Other Services +13,700 -103,200 475,400
Education and Health Services +7,800 -128,700 2,694,500
Financial Activities +7,100 -1,800 845,700
Manufacturing +4,500 -94,000 1,226,600
Information +2,900 -44,500 522,400
Mining and Logging -200 -1,100 21,300
Government -41,100 -186,400 2,433,700

Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry increased by 5,600 from September 2020 to 340,000 jobs in October. The agricultural industry has lost 87,300 farm jobs since October 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 with jobs in October was 17,491,400, an increase of 888,600 jobs from September’s total of 16,602,800, but down 1,240,000 from the employment total in October of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 1,786,500 in October, a decrease of 279,300 over the month, but up by 1,032,500 compared with October of last year.
California Labor Force Month-over Change (September 2020–October 2020) Year-over Change (October 2019–October 2020)
* Civilian Labor Force (19,277,800) +609,100 -207,500
Total Civilian Employment (17,491,400) +888,600 -1,240,000
Unemployment (1,786,500) -279,300 +1,032,500

* 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 1,650,946 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the October 2020 sample week. That compares to 2,801,538 people in September 2020 and 260,709 people in October 2019. Concurrently, 152,641 initial claims were processed in the October 2020 sample week, which was a month-over decrease of 73,631 claims from September 2020, but a year-over increase of 113,240 claims from October 2019.

California Unemployment Insurance Claims Month-over Change (September 2020–October 2020) Year-over Change (October 2020–October 2020)
UI Recipients (1,650,946) -1,150,592 +1,390,237
New UI Claims (152,641) -73,631 +113,240
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
October 2020 (Preliminary); 2019 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 19,341,600 17,605,300 1,736,300 9.0%
ALAMEDA 830,900 765,400 65,500 7.9%
ALPINE 470 420 50 9.7%
AMADOR 14,610 13,490 1,130 7.7%
BUTTE 96,300 89,100 7,100 7.4%
CALAVERAS 20,740 19,370 1,370 6.6%
COLUSA 10,010 9,080 930 9.3%
CONTRA COSTA 552,600 508,900 43,700 7.9%
DEL NORTE 9,420 8,670 750 8.0%
EL DORADO 91,900 86,000 5,900 6.4%
FRESNO 450,400 408,700 41,700 9.3%
GLENN 13,200 12,370 830 6.3%
HUMBOLDT 61,500 57,400 4,100 6.6%
IMPERIAL 68,700 55,800 13,000 18.8%
INYO 8,490 7,950 550 6.5%
KERN 380,700 340,400 40,300 10.6%
KINGS 56,300 51,100 5,300 9.3%
LAKE 29,720 27,430 2,290 7.7%
LASSEN 10,100 9,580 530 5.2%
LOS ANGELES 5,089,800 4,476,400 613,400 12.1%
MADERA 61,800 56,600 5,200 8.5%
MARIN 137,800 130,300 7,400 5.4%
MARIPOSA 7,690 7,130 560 7.3%
MENDOCINO 37,350 34,600 2,740 7.3%
MERCED 116,500 105,700 10,900 9.3%
MODOC 3,210 3,020 190 5.9%
MONO 7,270 6,560 720 9.9%
MONTEREY 195,500 180,200 15,300 7.8%
NAPA 73,500 68,700 4,900 6.6%
NEVADA 47,220 44,210 3,010 6.4%
ORANGE 1,625,500 1,502,800 122,700 7.5%
PLACER 187,500 176,400 11,200 6.0%
PLUMAS 7,970 7,420 550 6.9%
RIVERSIDE 1,122,100 1,021,000 101,100 9.0%
SACRAMENTO 725,400 664,700 60,700 8.4%
SAN BENITO 31,600 29,200 2,400 7.5%
SAN BERNARDINO 988,200 898,700 89,500 9.1%
SAN DIEGO 1,610,900 1,486,400 124,500 7.7%
SAN FRANCISCO 581,100 541,100 40,100 6.9%
SAN JOAQUIN 330,200 297,300 32,900 10.0%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 136,000 127,900 8,100 6.0%
SAN MATEO 454,700 427,600 27,100 6.0%
SANTA BARBARA 218,200 204,400 13,800 6.3%
SANTA CLARA 1,064,600 1,001,700 62,900 5.9%
SANTA CRUZ 131,700 122,300 9,400 7.1%
SHASTA 75,400 70,200 5,200 6.9%
SIERRA 1,330 1,260 70 5.5%
SISKIYOU 16,480 15,280 1,210 7.3%
SOLANO 208,300 190,500 17,700 8.5%
SONOMA 258,100 242,000 16,100 6.2%
STANISLAUS 240,800 219,000 21,900 9.1%
SUTTER 41,800 38,000 3,800 9.1%
TEHAMA 25,420 23,600 1,820 7.2%
TRINITY 4,390 4,110 280 6.3%
TULARE 193,800 172,600 21,200 10.9%
TUOLUMNE 20,200 18,530 1,670 8.3%
VENTURA 420,000 390,100 30,000 7.1%
YOLO 107,600 101,000 6,600 6.2%
YUBA 28,700 26,100 2,700 9.4%