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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
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California’s unemployment rate drops by 0.1% in May

In a statement, Governor Gavin Newsom said the Golden State had added more than 3.1 million jobs since May 2020.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — California’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.2% in May, the first drop the state has seen in several months.

The Golden State’s unemployment rate has been rising or holding steady since the year began. It was 5.1% in December before climbing to 5.2% in January and 5.3% in February. It held steady at that rate through April before falling by 0.1% in May.

An update Friday from the state’s Employment Development Department shows that there were 1,009,800 unemployed Californians in May. That's a drop of 17,700 from April, but it's still 141,800 more unemployed people than there were in May 2023.

During a sample week in May, almost 380,000 people certified for unemployment insurance. In April, 411,413 people certified. In May 2023, by comparison, 391,004 certified for the benefits.

The state processed 38,893 initial unemployment claims during the May sample week. That’s 6,243 fewer claims than April and 5,480 fewer claims from May 2023.

The counties with the highest rates of employment remain Imperial, at 15.4%; Colusa, at 11.9%; and Tulare, at 9.3%.

San Mateo County had the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.9%. There was a three-way tie for the second place, with Marin, San Francisco and San Luis Obispo counties all coming in at 3%. Two counties tied for third place with a rate of 3.1%: Inyo and Napa counties.

California had 18,328,600 employed residents in May. That’s a rise of 9,500 from April, but down 113,500 from May 2023.

The state had 18,033,900 non-farm jobs in May — an increase of 43,700 from the prior month.

The total number of non-farm jobs in California grew by 207,700 from May 2023 to last month, a 1.2% increase. That’s compared to 2,756,000 jobs added nationwide over the same time — a 1.8% increase.

California farm jobs grew by 3,900 from April to May, bringing the new total to 410,600. That industry had 5,400 more jobs in May than it did a year ago.

Eight of the state’s 11 industry sectors saw job gains in May.

Leisure and hospitality saw 10,200 new jobs, in large part due to spring rains disappearing. Accommodations and food services saw 8,100 more jobs in May after gaining 5,900 in April.

Trade, transportation and utilities saw 5,100 new jobs last month, as better-than-average growth happened in the truck transportation and couriers and messengers groups.

The information sector had the biggest job loss, shedding 1,900 positions.

In a statement on Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom said California has gained over 3.1 million jobs since May 2020.

“California is creating good jobs throughout the state to support Californians and their families,” Newsom, a Democrat, said. “As the state’s economy grows and hits new milestones, we need to continue supporting and uplifting every community across California.”

May’s unemployment update comes about a week after the Legislature passed its fiscal year 2024-25 budget — and while lawmakers continue pointing fingers at each other over a package of high-profile crime bills that could impact a November ballot initiative.

While the Legislature beat its June 15 deadline to pass a budget, work nonetheless continues. Newsom made some drastic cuts to programs that the Legislature added back, and budget committees in both the state Assembly and Senate have hearings next week.

Those budget discussions, though, have recently taken a backseat, as Democrats and Republicans bicker over over a package of crime bills intended to address the retail theft crisis.

Categories / Economy, Employment, Regional

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