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California unemployment sits at 9% for January

Employers lost 69,900 nonfarm payroll jobs

IMPORTANT NOTE: The employment data for the month of January 2020 is taken from the survey week including January 12. Data for the month of February is scheduled for release on March 26, 2021.

NOTE TO EDITORS: This release incorporates revised historical labor force numbers and industry employment data. Each year our labor force and employment data are updated to reflect additional data inputs and estimation techniques. These data are produced in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, based on the same methodology used by all states.

SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percentage points to 9.0 percent in January as the state’s employers lost 69,900 jobs1, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. This comes after December’s downward-revised month-over loss of 75,400 jobs (-23,200 jobs) due, in part, to new 2020 benchmark data and methodology. Despite December and January combining for a two-month total of 145,300 jobs lost, California has regained more than 39 percent of the upwards-revised 2,714,800 nonfarm jobs that were lost during the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April, 2020.

The California unemployment rate was 9 percent in January 2021, down from 9.3 percent from December 2021, but up from January 2021’s rate of 4.2 percent.
California payroll jobs totaled 15,868,000 in January 2021, down 69,900 from December 2020 and down 1,752,800 from January of last year.

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

  • California’s month-over unemployment rate improved from an upwards-revised 9.3 percent in December 2020 to 9.0 in January2 thanks, in part, to an increase in total civilian employment (+31,800).
  • Six of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs last month. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+13,700) had the state’s largest month-over increase thanks to gains in retail trade, while Leisure & Hospitality (-70,600) had the biggest decrease due to large losses in Accommodation and Food Services.
  • Benchmark revisions amount to a new lower peak unemployment rate of 16 percent during the pandemic, reached in April-May - down from the 16.4 percent estimate. But the job loss from February-December was revised up from 1.46 million to 1.72 million.

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 information 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 15,868,000 in January – a net loss of 69,900 jobs from December. This followed a downward-revision of 23,200 jobs in December for a month-over loss of 75,400 jobs that month.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,752,800 (a 9.9 percent decrease) from January 2020 to January 2021 compared to the U.S. annual loss of 9,603,000 jobs (a 6.3 percent decrease).
Major Industries Month-over Change (Dec. 2020–Jan. 2021) Year-over Change (Jan. 2020–Jan. 2021) Total Payroll Jobs as of Jan. 2021
Trade, Transportation, Utilities +13,700 -109,900 2,955,300
Government +3,600 -208,400 2,407,000
Professional and Business Services +3,600 -143,500 2,614,700
Financial Activities +600 -36,800 810,600
Information +600 -53,700 522,600
Mining and Logging +500 -3,100 19,000
Other Services -3,300 -150,100 438,500
Construction -4,000 -28,100 877,100
Manufacturing -4,600 -85,300 1,242,300
Education and Health Services -10,000 -134,500 2,724,800
Leisure and Hospitality -70,600 -799,400 1,256,100

Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry increased by 2,000 from December 2020 to 420,200 jobs in January 2021. The agricultural industry has the same number of farm jobs as it did in January 2020.

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 with jobs in January was 16,988,800, an increase of 31,800 jobs from December’s total of 16,957,000, but down 1,624,500 from the employment total in January of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 1,680,100 in January, a decrease of 68,400 over the month, but up by 856,300 in comparison to January of last year.
California Labor Force Month-over Change (Dec. 2020–Jan. 2021) Year-over Change (Jan. 2020–Jan. 2021)
* Civilian Labor Force (18,669,000) -36,500 -768,100
Total Civilian Employment (16,988,800) +31,800 -1,624,500
Unemployment (1,680,100) -68,400 +856,300

* 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 818,589 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the January 2021 sample week. That compares to 1,007,331 people in December and 339,026 people in January 2020. Concurrently, 58,377 initial claims were processed in the January 2021 sample week, which was a month-over decrease of 100,715 claims from December 2020, but a year-over increase of 12,635 claims from January 2020.

California Unemployment Insurance Claims Month-over Change (Dec. 2020–Jan. 2021) Year-over Change (Jan. 2020–Jan. 2021)
UI Recipients (818,589) -188,742 +479,563
New UI Claims (58,377) -100,715 +12,635
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
January 2021 (Preliminary); 2020 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 18,623,500 16,901,800 1,721,700 9.2%
ALAMEDA 802,100 743,800 58,300 7.3%
ALPINE 620 580 40 6.9%
AMADOR 14,330 13,140 1,190 8.3%
BUTTE 89,100 81,700 7,400 8.3%
CALAVERAS 21,140 19,670 1,460 6.9%
COLUSA 10,210 8,620 1,600 15.6%
CONTRA COSTA 534,600 494,300 40,200 7.5%
DEL NORTE 9,290 8,460 830 9.0%
EL DORADO 91,100 84,800 6,300 6.9%
FRESNO 444,700 400,300 44,400 10.0%
GLENN 12,180 11,210 960 7.9%
HUMBOLDT 58,700 54,400 4,300 7.3%
IMPERIAL 65,000 54,300 10,800 16.5%
INYO 8,260 7,690 570 6.9%
KERN 381,200 340,200 41,000 10.8%
KINGS 55,800 49,800 6,000 10.7%
LAKE 28,600 26,070 2,530 8.8%
LASSEN 9,440 8,790 650 6.9%
LOS ANGELES 4,916,600 4,290,200 626,400 12.7%
MADERA 62,800 56,800 6,000 9.6%
MARIN 129,000 122,000 7,000 5.4%
MARIPOSA 6,760 5,940 820 12.1%
MENDOCINO 36,140 33,380 2,770 7.7%
MERCED 113,900 100,800 13,000 11.4%
MODOC 3,120 2,830 300 9.5%
MONO 8,570 7,800 760 8.9%
MONTEREY 202,800 180,000 22,700 11.2%
NAPA 67,500 61,700 5,800 8.6%
NEVADA 46,780 43,640 3,150 6.7%
ORANGE 1,516,800 1,404,800 112,000 7.4%
PLACER 185,600 174,500 11,100 6.0%
PLUMAS 7,080 6,240 840 11.9%
RIVERSIDE 1,105,400 1,010,200 95,200 8.6%
SACRAMENTO 711,200 653,300 57,900 8.1%
SAN BENITO 30,700 28,000 2,700 8.9%
SAN BERNARDINO 969,400 885,600 83,800 8.6%
SAN DIEGO 1,517,300 1,395,000 122,300 8.1%
SAN FRANCISCO 535,400 501,900 33,500 6.3%
SAN JOAQUIN 330,100 297,200 33,000 10.0%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 131,100 122,300 8,800 6.7%
SAN MATEO 420,000 396,000 24,000 5.7%
SANTA BARBARA 210,600 194,300 16,200 7.7%
SANTA CLARA 1,004,700 947,300 57,400 5.7%
SANTA CRUZ 128,500 117,500 11,000 8.6%
SHASTA 73,900 68,100 5,800 7.9%
SIERRA 1,260 1,160 90 7.4%
SISKIYOU 16,450 14,850 1,600 9.7%
SOLANO 201,200 183,900 17,400 8.6%
SONOMA 234,000 217,300 16,700 7.1%
STANISLAUS 238,600 216,300 22,300 9.3%
SUTTER 43,300 38,900 4,400 10.2%
TEHAMA 25,210 23,190 2,030 8.0%
TRINITY 4,400 4,060 340 7.7%
TULARE 194,700 172,700 22,100 11.3%
TUOLUMNE 19,750 17,960 1,790 9.1%
VENTURA 401,900 372,000 29,900 7.4%
YOLO 105,500 98,200 7,300 7.0%
YUBA 29,200 26,200 2,900 10.1%