California employers add 50,700 jobs; unemployment rate falls to 6.5%

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By SETH SANDRONSKY

THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR

(The Center Square) – California employers added 50,700 jobs in December, according to recent figures from the state’s Department of Employment Development, for the survey week ending Dec. 12, compared to 52,500 workers revised upwards in November. With 12% of the U.S. population, “California’s gain of 50,700 nonfarm payrolls in December 2021 was nearly 25.5% of the nation’s overall gain of 199,000 jobs for the month,” according to the EDD.

Meanwhile, California’s unemployment rate of 6.5% in December fell half a percentage point from November’s revised 7.0% rise. The US unemployment rate was 3.9% in December compared to 4.2% in November.

All of California’s major industries posted job gains in December, except mining and logging, which remained flat. According to the EDD, no industry lost jobs in December for the first time since March 2021.

California recreation and hospitality employment led the way with 15,000 new hires in December compared to 6,900 in November. Professional and business services added 12,000 new workers in December after gaining 18,800 in November.

Education and health services saw 7,600 new hires in December, the third-highest total by industry from November’s 9,500 workers. Public employment added 4,100 new hires in December compared to 5,300 workers in November.

Agriculture is a big industry in California and is often considered a barometer of the state’s overall economic health. “Employment in the agriculture industry has declined by 4,200 since November 2021 to 429,300 jobs in December,” according to EDD. There was an increase of 11,100 agricultural jobs in December 2021 compared to December 2020.

In the meantime, a trend of unequal employment rates across California’s 58 counties continues. The following figures are preliminary and not seasonally adjusted, according to EDD.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, where professional and business services jobs are prevalent, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties had unemployment rates of 2.7%, 3.0 and 2.8% , respectively, in December against 2.9%, 3.3% and 3.1%, in November. With the state’s largest labor force of 5 million people, Los Angeles County had an unemployment rate of 6.2% in December compared to 7.1% in November.

In contrast, the unemployment rate in some of the rural areas of California where agricultural jobs dominate is higher. For example, Imperial County in Southern California recorded an unemployment rate of 14.7% in December, down from 15.5% in November. In the northern part of the state, rural Colusa County recorded an unemployment rate of 11.9% in December compared to 10.3% in November.

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