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Saturday, July 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

California unemployment rate holds steady at 4.6%

The August unemployment report arrived just hours after the Legislature wrapped for the year, passing several pieces of legislation that could affect the workforce.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — California’s unemployment rate held at 4.6% in August, the third month in a row it’s remained unchanged.

The number of unemployed people in the state reached 894,700 last month. That’s a 9,800 rise from July and up 171,000 compared to August 2022.

The state reported 394,757 people certified for unemployment insurance benefits during a sample week in August. During July’s sample week, 401,745 people certified for the benefits. There were 310,212 people who received certification in August 2022.

More people soon could become eligible for unemployment benefits if Governor Gavin Newsom signs a bill targeting striking workers.

Senate Bill 799, which passed the Legislature on Thursday, would make those benefits available to striking workers after two weeks. Supporters said it would have a minor impact on the unemployment fund, while opponents pointed to $18 billion the state owes on that fund.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Imperial (19.7%), Tulare (9.8%) and Colusa (9.4%). The county with the lowest unemployment rate is San Mateo (3.3%). San Francisco and Napa counties are tied for second lowest (3.6%). San Luis Obispo and Main counties are third (3.7%).

The number of Californians with jobs dropped 27,900 from July to August — 18,536,300 to 18,508,400. However, August’s number is a 19,800 increase from August 2022.

There were 23,100 non-farm payroll jobs added in August, compared to July’s addition of 8,900 jobs. The state saw a 1.9% increase in jobs from August 2022 to August 2023, a jump of 335,200. The nation saw a 2% increase over the same time.

Farm jobs dropped by 1,300 from July to August, resulting in 430,500 such jobs this month. However, agriculture had 8,600 more jobs last month than in August 2022.

Out of California’s 11 industry sectors, seven gained jobs last month. Private education and health services had the most with 14,000. That’s because of gains in individual and family services, along with private colleges, universities and professional schools.

The government sector saw 5,200 job gains in August, mostly because of growth in local government educational services.

The 9,000 in job losses in the information sector reflected ongoing strikes by the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Other losses come from computing infrastructure providers, data processing, web hosting and similar services.

This month’s unemployment report came only hours after the Legislature ended its session for the year. Both chambers worked into the night passing hundreds of bills. Several affect the workforce.

If signed by Newsom, Assembly Bill 1228 will set a $20 minimum wage for qualifying fast food workers. It will also strip the existing Fast Food Council, created last year, of some power.

The new minimum wage would become effective April 1. The council could set new raises at no more than 3.5% until Jan. 1, 2029, when it disbands. However, the bill would only become effective if a referendum dealing with fast food is withdrawn by Jan. 1.

Senate Bill 525, if signed, sets a minimum wage for health care workers in covered health care facilities. The phased-in wage increases depend on a variety of factors, including the number of full-time employees a facility employs and a county’s population.

The bill also creates a 10-year moratorium on ordinances, regulations or administrative actions affecting wages for covered health care employees.

Categories / Economy, Employment, Regional

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