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California unemployment rate improves to 7.5 percent in August 2021

Employers added 104,300 nonfarm payroll jobs

IMPORTANT NOTE: The employment data for the month of August 2021 is taken from the survey week including Aug. 12th. Data for the month of September is scheduled for release on Oct. 22, 2021.

SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate decreased to 7.5 percent1 in August as the state’s employers gained 104,300 non-farm payroll jobs2, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. The state unemployment rate has now dropped 8.5 percent from its pandemic peak of 16 percent in April 2020.

The California unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in August 2021, down from 7.6 percent in July 2021 and 12.3 percent from August 2020.
California payroll jobs totaled 16,632,100 in August 2021, up from the16,527,800 in July 2021 and 15,757,800 in August 2020.

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

  • California’s gain of 104,300 nonfarm jobs accounted for 44 percent of the nation’s 235,000 overall jobs gain in August 2021.
  • From February 2021 through August 2021, California added 774,200 total non-farm payroll jobs – an unprecedented average of 110,600 jobs per month.
  • Of the 2,714,800 jobs lost in March and April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, California has now regained 1,686,000 jobs (62.1 percent).
  • Nine of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in August. Government (+46,900) has the state’s largest month-over gain driven by hiring in Local Government Education as a new school year begins and public schools reopen.
  • Professional & Business Services (+14,000) performed well as its Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services subsector has now regained all jobs it had lost since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Educational & Health Services (-6,300) had the largest month-over job reduction due a large decrease in Health Services.

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 16,632,100 in August – a net gain of 104,300 jobs since July 2021. This followed a downward revised (-1,200 jobs) month-over gain of 113,200 jobs in July.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs increased by 874,300 (a 5.5 percent increase) from August 2020 to August 2021 compared to the U.S. annual gain of 6,041,000 jobs (a 4.3 percent increase).
Major Industries Month-over Change (July 2021–August 2021) Year-over Change (August 2020–August 2021) Total Payroll Jobs as of August 2021
Government +46,900 +8,300 2,486,300
Leisure and Hospitality +33,100 +360,200 1,660,500
Professional and Business Services +14,000 +158,300 2,694,600
Other Services +8,400 +74,300 500,300
Financial Activities +3,200 +5,600 809,800
Manufacturing +2,900 +13,300 1,258,600
Information +2,200 +38,900 547,200
Construction +600 +35,900 878,400
Mining and Logging +100 -100 18,900
Trade, Transportation, Utilities -800 +108,100 2,990,500
Education and Health Services -6,300 +71,500 2,787,000

Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry decreased by 1,500 from July 2021 to 419,700 jobs in August. The agricultural industry has 18,000 more farm jobs in August 2021 than it did the August 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 August was 17,551,100, an increase of 57,500 persons from July’s total of 17,493,600, and up 1,185,800 from the employment total in August of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 1,431,600 in August, a decrease of 2,200 over the month and down 869,700 in comparison to August of last year.
California Labor Force Month-over Change (July 2021–August 2021) Year-over Change (August 2020–August 2021)
* Civilian Labor Force (18,982,800) +55,300 +316,100
Total Civilian Employment (17,551,100) +57,500 +1,185,800
Unemployment (1,431,600) -2,200 -869,700

* 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 638,976 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the August 2021 sample week. That compares to 834,513 people in July and 2,837,209 people in August 2020. Concurrently, 63,553 initial claims were processed in the August 2021 sample week, which was a month-over decrease of 1,089 claims from July as well as a year-over decrease of 133,302 claims from August 2020.

California Unemployment Insurance Claims Month-over Change (July 2021–August 2021) Year-over Change (August 2020–August 2021)
UI Recipients (638,976) -195,537 -2,198,233
New UI Claims (63,553) -1,089 -133,302
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
August 2021 (Preliminary); 2020 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 19,024,400 17,600,200 1,424,300 7.5%
ALAMEDA 807,100 757,000 50,000 6.2%
ALPINE 480 440 40 8.9%
AMADOR 14,780 13,800 980 6.6%
BUTTE 93,100 86,800 6,300 6.8%
CALAVERAS 22,030 20,800 1,230 5.6%
COLUSA 11,400 10,340 1,060 9.3%
CONTRA COSTA 538,500 503,500 35,000 6.5%
DEL NORTE 9,760 9,070 690 7.1%
EL DORADO 91,300 86,200 5,100 5.6%
FRESNO 445,500 406,200 39,400 8.8%
GLENN 12,730 11,850 880 6.9%
HUMBOLDT 59,900 56,200 3,700 6.1%
IMPERIAL 68,500 55,200 13,300 19.4%
INYO 8,290 7,810 480 5.8%
KERN 385,800 347,400 38,400 10.0%
KINGS 55,900 50,800 5,100 9.1%
LAKE 29,650 27,570 2,080 7.0%
LASSEN 9,740 9,190 550 5.6%
LOS ANGELES 5,023,800 4,538,300 485,400 9.7%
MADERA 62,800 57,600 5,200 8.3%
MARIN 133,600 127,700 5,900 4.4%
MARIPOSA 7,830 7,310 520 6.6%
MENDOCINO 36,700 34,460 2,240 6.1%
MERCED 119,700 108,500 11,200 9.4%
MODOC 3,450 3,250 200 5.8%
MONO 9,000 8,460 530 5.9%
MONTEREY 224,200 209,400 14,800 6.6%
NAPA 71,000 67,100 3,900 5.5%
NEVADA 47,860 45,230 2,630 5.5%
ORANGE 1,580,600 1,485,700 94,900 6.0%
PLACER 186,700 177,100 9,600 5.1%
PLUMAS 8,200 7,560 640 7.8%
RIVERSIDE 1,113,200 1,028,400 84,700 7.6%
SACRAMENTO 713,400 663,300 50,100 7.0%
SAN BENITO 31,500 29,400 2,200 6.9%
SAN BERNARDINO 977,700 903,100 74,600 7.6%
SAN DIEGO 1,533,600 1,431,800 101,700 6.6%
SAN FRANCISCO 557,500 529,600 27,900 5.0%
SAN JOAQUIN 334,300 305,900 28,400 8.5%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 129,000 121,800 7,100 5.5%
SAN MATEO 438,000 417,700 20,200 4.6%
SANTA BARBARA 220,300 208,200 12,100 5.5%
SANTA CLARA 1,024,200 975,500 48,700 4.8%
SANTA CRUZ 134,400 126,000 8,500 6.3%
SHASTA 74,800 69,900 4,900 6.5%
SIERRA 1,390 1,320 70 5.0%
SISKIYOU 17,260 16,010 1,240 7.2%
SOLANO 203,500 188,600 14,900 7.3%
SONOMA 248,700 235,500 13,200 5.3%
STANISLAUS 246,400 226,800 19,700 8.0%
SUTTER 47,200 43,500 3,700 7.9%
TEHAMA 25,810 24,020 1,790 6.9%
TRINITY 4,920 4,660 260 5.3%
TULARE 201,200 180,100 21,100 10.5%
TUOLUMNE 20,100 18,680 1,430 7.1%
VENTURA 408,300 383,100 25,300 6.2%
YOLO 107,300 101,300 6,000 5.6%
YUBA 30,500 28,000 2,500 8.3%