Sign in / Join

California Unemployment Falls to Lowest rate in 16 Years

California’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in April, the lowest rate since the top of the dot-com bubble in December 2001.

The number of Californians employed in nonfarm jobs actually fell by 16,300 jobs in April, but on a seasonally adjusted basis the unemployment rate ticked down by 0.1 percent. The state’s employment growth since the bottom of the Great Recession in January 2010 is tracking at a gain of 2,494,600 jobs, according to the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

California’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate still lags the national rate, which also ticked down by 0.1 percent in April to 4.4 percent, as American employers added 211,000 nonfarm payroll jobs. There were 923,000 unemployed Californians at the end of April, down 20,000 for the month and down by 132,000 from the same time last year.

Only four of California’s eleven major industry sectors added jobs last month. Leisure and hospitality added 7,400 jobs; followed by construction, expanding by 7,200 jobs; education gained 6,800 jobs; and logging and mining picked up 200 jobs. The biggest job losses were in professional and business services, which were down by 17,500 jobs; followed by trade, transportation and utilities, which fell by 5,900 jobs.

All but three of California’s major industry sectors saw job gains in the last year, led by educational and health services, up 69,700 jobs; followed by leisure and hospitality, up 51,000 jobs; and government, up by 44,400 jobs.

April’s biggest job loser was the high-paying information sector, heavily domiciled in Silicon Valley. Information lost 4,200 jobs in the last month, and suffered 9,800 job losses in the last year.

Breitbart News reported that the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Metropolitan Statistical Area, which stretches from Palo Alto in the north to Hollister in the south, saw unemployment rise from 3.4 to 3.8 percent in January, when the area lost 22,000 jobs.

Silicon Valley’s reported unemployment percentage has dropped to a statewide low of 3.1 percent as of April 2017. But the positive trend was only due to the labor force shrinking by 12,100, or 1.2 percent, over the last 12 months, from 1,028,900 to 1,016,800 jobs.

Despite President Donald Trump’s election driving tech stocks to a series of all-time-highs in the last few months, Santa Clara County has lost 6,300 jobs since April 2016.

The CompTIA information trade association reports that earnings in the sector average $105,400, almost twice the state’s $53,400 average. That appears to indicate that California is gaining low-paid service sector jobs and losing high-paid tech sector jobs.