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California unemployment rate holds steady at 8.3% in April 2021

Employers gained 101,800 nonfarm payroll jobs

IMPORTANT NOTE: The employment data for the month of April 2021 is taken from the survey week including April 12. Data for the month of May is scheduled for release on June 18, 2021.

SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent in April as the state’s employers gained 101,800 non-farm payroll jobs1, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. This comes after March’s upwards-revised (+12,800 jobs) month-over gain of 132,400 jobs. Of the 2,714,800 total nonfarm jobs lost in March and April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, California has now regained 1,302,100 jobs (48 percent) since May 2020.

The California unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in April 2021, the same rate as March 2021 but down from 16 percent in April 2020.
California payroll jobs totaled 16,248,200 in April 2021, up by 101,800 from March 2021 and up by 1,302,100 from April 2020.

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

  • The unemployment rate of 8.3 percent in April2 is nearly half of the 16 percent peak hit one year ago, but is still 4 percent above the pre-pandemic level seen in February 2020.
  • California’s April job gain accounts for 38 percent of the national gain of 266,000 jobs.
  • From February through April, California added 390,300 total non-farm payroll jobs, marking the state’s third consecutive month of gains over 100,000 jobs.
  • Seven of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in April. Leisure & Hospitality (+62,800) continued to have the state’s largest month-over increase thanks in large part to Full-Service Restaurants. Professional and Business Services (+19,000) also posted a large gain thanks to strength in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, as did Other Services (+10,500) with an increase in Personal Care Services.
  • Leisure & Hospitality and Other Services, the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, combined for nearly two-thirds of California’s job gains over the past three months.
  • Information (-3,500) saw the largest month-over industry sector loss, largely due to a decrease in Software Publishers.

1. The nonfarm payroll job numbers come from a federal survey of 80,000 California businesses.
2. The unemployment rate comes from a separate federal survey of 5,100 California households.

Data Trends about Jobs in the Economy

Total Nonfarm Payroll Jobs

This 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 16,248,200 in April – a net gain of 101,800 jobs from March 2021. This followed an upward revision of 12,800 jobs for a revised month-over gain of 132,400 jobs in March.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs increased by 1,302,100 (an 8.7 percent increase) from April 2020 to April 2021 compared to the U.S. annual gain of 14,147,000 jobs (a 10.9 percent increase).
Major Industries Month-over Change (March 2021–April 2021) Year-over Change (April 2020–April 2021) Total Payroll Jobs as of April 2021
Leisure and Hospitality +62,800 +408,100 1,480,800
Professional and Business Services +19,000 +189,200 2,662,900
Education and Health Services +11,200 +180,600 2,758,700
Other Services +10,500 +73,900 469,200
Manufacturing +1,500 +45,800 1,252,200
Government +1,500 -118,100 2,402,400
Trade, Transportation, Utilities +1,200 +353,500 2,983,700
Mining and Logging -100 -1,300 19,100
Construction -600 +147,100 885,700
Financial Activities -1,700 +7,600 807,800
Information -3,500 +15,700 525,700

Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry decreased by 8,000 from March 2021 to 413,900 jobs in April. The agricultural industry had 44,700 more farm jobs in April 2021 than it did the April prior.

Data Trends about Workers in the Economy

Employment and Unemployment in California

This information is based on a monthly federal survey of 5,100 California households which focuses on workers in the economy.

  • Employed – The number of Californians employed in April was 17,378,100, an increase of 36,800 jobs from March’s total of 17,341,300 and up 1,753,700 from the employment total in April of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 1,576,100 in April, a decrease of 3,200 over the month and down 1,390,300 in comparison to April of last year.
California Labor Force Month-over Change (March 2021–April 2021) Year-over Change (April 2020–April 2021)
* Civilian Labor Force (18,954,200) +33,600 +363,300
Total Civilian Employment (17,378,100) +36,800 +1,753,700
Unemployment (1,576,100) -3,200 -1,390,300

* Labor force by place of residence, including workers involved in trade disputes.

Unemployment Insurance Claims (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

The following data is from a sample week that includes the 19th of each month: In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 579,498 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the April 2021 sample week. That compares to 680,279 people in March and 1,889,250 people in April 2020. Concurrently, 78,640 initial claims were processed in the April 2021 sample week, which was a month-over decrease of 17,572 claims from March and a year-over decrease of 246,876 claims from April 2020.

California Unemployment Insurance Claims Month-over Change (March 2021–April 2021) Year-over Change (April 2020–April 2021)
UI Recipients (579,498) -100,781 -1,309,752
New UI Claims (78,640) -17,572 -246,876
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
April 2021 (Preliminary); 2020 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 18,812,400 17,292,400 1,520,000 8.1%
ALAMEDA 795,300 745,000 50,200 6.3%
ALPINE 540 500 40 8.0%
AMADOR 14,270 13,270 990 7.0%
BUTTE 91,500 85,000 6,500 7.1%
CALAVERAS 21,100 19,850 1,250 5.9%
COLUSA 10,710 9,320 1,390 13.0%
CONTRA COSTA 530,200 495,000 35,200 6.6%
DEL NORTE 9,210 8,460 750 8.1%
EL DORADO 89,800 84,400 5,400 6.0%
FRESNO 436,700 394,700 42,100 9.6%
GLENN 12,640 11,760 870 6.9%
HUMBOLDT 59,200 55,500 3,800 6.3%
IMPERIAL 64,900 54,500 10,500 16.1%
INYO 8,120 7,640 480 6.0%
KERN 372,700 332,600 40,100 10.7%
KINGS 54,700 49,100 5,600 10.2%
LAKE 28,740 26,550 2,190 7.6%
LASSEN 9,480 8,920 560 5.9%
LOS ANGELES 5,110,500 4,548,100 562,400 11%
MADERA 60,200 54,500 5,700 9.5%
MARIN 129,600 123,600 6,000 4.6%
MARIPOSA 6,820 6,260 560 8.2%
MENDOCINO 36,000 33,640 2,360 6.5%
MERCED 114,100 101,600 12,500 10.9%
MODOC 3,290 3,040 250 7.5%
MONO 7,430 6,870 550 7.4%
MONTEREY 215,600 197,000 18,600 8.6%
NAPA 67,700 63,500 4,200 6.3%
NEVADA 45,440 42,760 2,680 5.9%
ORANGE 1,536,000 1,440,500 95,500 6.2%
PLACER 183,300 173,700 9,700 5.3%
PLUMAS 7,350 6,640 710 9.7%
RIVERSIDE 1,099,100 1,016,000 83,200 7.6%
SACRAMENTO 700,800 650,500 50,300 7.2%
SAN BENITO 31,100 28,700 2,400 7.7%
SAN BERNARDINO 965,700 891,300 74,500 7.7%
SAN DIEGO 1,517,500 1,415,400 102,100 6.7%
SAN FRANCISCO 540,500 511,600 28,900 5.4%
SAN JOAQUIN 328,100 298,700 29,500 9.0%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 128,300 121,100 7,200 5.6%
SAN MATEO 424,000 403,400 20,500 4.8%
SANTA BARBARA 216,300 203,300 12,900 6.0%
SANTA CLARA 1,003,800 953,900 49,900 5.0%
SANTA CRUZ 129,400 119,400 10,000 7.7%
SHASTA 72,500 67,400 5,100 7.0%
SIERRA 1,280 1,190 90 6.7%
SISKIYOU 16,620 15,270 1,350 8.1%
SOLANO 199,300 184,200 15,100 7.6%
SONOMA 238,300 224,600 13,700 5.7%
STANISLAUS 237,800 217,300 20,400 8.6%
SUTTER 44,000 39,800 4,200 9.6%
TEHAMA 25,090 23,240 1,860 7.4%
TRINITY 4,440 4,150 300 6.6%
TULARE 196,900 175,100 21,700 11.0%
TUOLUMNE 19,510 18,000 1,510 7.8%
VENTURA 405,200 380,100 25,000 6.2%
YOLO 105,100 98,700 6,400 6.0%
YUBA 29,000 26,400 2,600 9.1%