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California unemployment rate falls to 4.0 percent in September, setting new record low

Employers add 21,300 nonfarm jobs, current expansion sets new record

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SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate fell to a new record low of 4.0 percent in September while the state’s employers added 21,300 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. The job gains in September contribute to a record job expansion in California of 115 months, surpassing the long expansion of the 1960s. California has gained 3,348,900 jobs since the expansion began in February 2010, accounting for over 15 percent of the nation’s 22 million job gain over the same timeframe.

The California unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent in September 2019, setting a new record low in a data series going back to the 1970s.

California payroll jobs totaled 17,538,500 in September 2019, up 21,300 from August 2019 and up 320,000 from September of last year.

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

  • The state’s unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent1 in September, setting a new record low in a data series going back to the 1970s.
  • California’s record low unemployment rate in September coincided with a 0.2 percent drop in the national unemployment rate to 3.5 percent for the month, a 50-year low.
  • September’s 21,300 nonfarm payroll gain extended California’s current job expansion to an all-time record of 115 months. Gains were concentrated in the professional and business services industry, particularly for firms providing employment services, along with increases in the manufacturing and education and health services industry sectors.
  • California added an average 29,120 jobs2 per month over the entire 115-month-long expansion — far more than the 8,000-9,000 jobs needed monthly to match labor force growth.

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 17,538,500 in September – a net gain of 21,300 jobs from August. This followed a revised gain of 32,000 jobs in August.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs increased by 320,000 jobs (a 1.9 percent increase) from September 2018 to September 2019 compared to the U.S. annual gain of 2,147,000 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 September 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 10,300 jobs from August to 437,500. The agricultural industry has added 12,400 farm jobs since September 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 September was 18,626,800, an increase of 38,100 from August and down 39,500 from the employment total in September of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 774,000 in September, a decrease of 17,400 over the month and down by 22,900 compared with September 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 19,400,800 in September 2019, up 20,700 from August 2019 and down 62,400 from September of last year.

Unemployment Insurance Claims (not seasonally adjusted) In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 281,060 people receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits during the survey week in September compared to 309,691 in August and 284,790 people in September 2018. Concurrently, 35,328 people filed new claims in September which was a month-over increase of 553 people.

In September 2019, there were 281,060 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits, down 28,631 from August 2019 and down 3,730 from September of last year. There were 35,328 people who filed new claims, up 553 from August and up 809 from September of last year.
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
September 2019 (Preliminary); 2018 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 19,564,900 18,876,300 688,600 3.5%
ALAMEDA 860,200 838,900 21,300 2.5%
ALPINE 480 460 20 4.6%
AMADOR 15,190 14,740 450 3.0%
BUTTE 103,900 100,100 3,800 3.7%
CALAVERAS 21,660 21,010 640 3.0%
COLUSA 11,050 10,310 730 6.6%
CONTRA COSTA 571,800 557,200 14,700 2.6%
DEL NORTE 9,910 9,460 450 4.5%
EL DORADO 92,300 89,700 2,600 2.8%
FRESNO 456,000 431,700 24,300 5.3%
GLENN 13,190 12,600 580 4.4%
HUMBOLDT 64,200 62,400 1,800 2.7%
IMPERIAL 72,700 57,700 15,100 20.7%
INYO 8,860 8,630 240 2.7%
KERN 392,400 368,900 23,500 6.0%
KINGS 57,900 54,600 3,300 5.7%
LAKE 29,950 28,850 1,100 3.7%
LASSEN 10,010 9,690 330 3.3%
LOS ANGELES 5,140,600 4,911,800 228,800 4.5%
MADERA 62,600 59,500 3,200 5.0%
MARIN 143,100 140,400 2,700 1.9%
MARIPOSA 8,160 7,920 240 3.0%
MENDOCINO 39,760 38,600 1,160 2.9%
MERCED 118,500 111,900 6,500 5.5%
MODOC 3,220 3,070 140 4.4%
MONO 8,780 8,510 260 3.0%
MONTEREY 232,000 224,300 7,700 3.3%
NAPA 76,100 74,400 1,600 2.2%
NEVADA 48,730 47,440 1,290 2.6%
ORANGE 1,631,900 1,592,800 39,100 2.4%
PLACER 187,200 182,300 4,900 2.6%
PLUMAS 8,010 7,640 370 4.6%
RIVERSIDE 1,103,200 1,061,400 41,800 3.8%
SACRAMENTO 717,000 695,000 22,000 3.1%
SAN BENITO 31,200 30,100 1,100 3.7%
SAN BERNARDINO 970,700 938,600 32,100 3.3%
SAN DIEGO 1,608,100 1,564,800 43,400 2.7%
SAN FRANCISCO 591,400 580,800 10,700 1.8%
SAN JOAQUIN 326,700 311,500 15,200 4.7%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 140,200 136,900 3,300 2.4%
SAN MATEO 467,300 459,300 8,000 1.7%
SANTA BARBARA 218,100 211,900 6,100 2.8%
SANTA CLARA 1,071,800 1,049,100 22,700 2.1%
SANTA CRUZ 143,300 138,800 4,500 3.1%
SHASTA 74,200 71,500 2,600 3.5%
SIERRA 1,410 1,360 50 3.5%
SISKIYOU 17,740 16,980 760 4.3%
SOLANO 208,400 202,000 6,400 3.1%
SONOMA 266,300 260,600 5,700 2.2%
STANISLAUS 244,800 233,400 11,300 4.6%
SUTTER 45,800 43,500 2,200 4.9%
TEHAMA 26,200 25,110 1,090 4.2%
TRINITY 4,780 4,600 180 3.7%
TULARE 204,500 189,000 15,500 7.6%
TUOLUMNE 21,780 21,040 740 3.4%
VENTURA 421,100 407,800 13,300 3.2%
YOLO 109,300 106,000 3,400 3.1%
YUBA 29,300 27,900 1,400 4.8%