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California unemployment rate falls to 3.9 percent in October, setting new record low

Employers add 23,600 nonfarm jobs, current expansion sets new record

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SACRAMENTO – California’s unemployment rate fell to a new record low of 3.9 percent in October while the state’s employers added 23,600 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. The job gains in October contribute to a record job expansion in California of 116 months, surpassing the long expansion of the 1960s. California has gained 3,377,900 jobs since the expansion began in February 2010, accounting for more than 15 percent of the nation’s 22,230,000 job gain over the same timeframe.

The California unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in October 2019, down from September 2019 by 0.1 percent  and down 0.2 percent from October of last year.

California payroll jobs totaled 17,567,500 in October 2019, up 23,600 from September 2019 and up 308,000 from October of last year.

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

  • The state’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent1 in October, setting a new record low in a data series going back to the 1970s. The number of unemployed Californians is the lowest since 1989 despite large gains in statewide population since then.
  • California’s record low unemployment rate in October contrasts a 0.1 percentage point rise in the national unemployment rate to 3.6 percent for the month.
  • October’s 23,600 nonfarm payroll2 gain extended California’s current job expansion to an all-time record of 116 months. Gains were widespread across a number of industry sectors with education and health services increasing by 6,500 jobs, led by growth in social assistance. Government (5,400) and financial activities (5,300) also showed large increases.
  • A good start to holiday hiring in retail helped propel a gain in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (4,700).

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

Data Trends about Jobs in the Economy

Total Nonfarm Payroll Jobs (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 17,567,500 in October – a net gain of 23,600 jobs from September. This followed a revised gain of 26,700 jobs in September.
  • Year-over – Total nonfarm jobs increased by 308,000 jobs (a 1.8 percent increase) from October 2018 to October 2019 compared to the U.S. annual gain of 2,093,000 jobs (a 1.4 percent increase).
This table shows the number of California nonfarm payroll jobs grouped by major industries, with columns showing month-over and year-over change, plus total payroll jobs as of October 2019. If you need an alternative format to access this information, contact the EDD Equal Employment Opportunity Office at EEOmail@edd.ca.gov or call toll free 1-866-490-8879.

Total Farm jobs – The number of jobs in the agriculture industry increased by 200 jobs from September to 432,500. The agricultural industry has added 4,000 farm jobs since October 2018.

Data Trends about Workers in the Economy

Employment and Unemployment in California (Based on monthly federal survey of 5,100 California households which focuses on workers in the economy)

  • Employed – The number of Californians holding jobs in October was 18,676,800, an increase of 50,000 from September, but down 24,000 from the employment total in October of last year.
  • Unemployed – The number of unemployed Californians was 765,300 in October, a decrease of 9,100 over the month and down by 33,400 compared with October of last year.
This table summarizes data from the prior text and adds that the civilian labor force (which is the labor force by place of residence, including workers involved in trading disputes) totaled 19,442,100 in October 2019, up 40,800 from September 2019, but down 57,400 from October of last year.

Unemployment Insurance Claims (not seasonally adjusted) In related data that figures into the state’s unemployment rate, there were 260,709 people receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits during the survey week in October compared to 281,060 in September and 272,542 people in October 2018. Concurrently, 39,401 people filed new claims in October which was a month-over increase of 4,073 people.

In October 2019, there were 260,709 people receiving unemployment insurance benefits, down 20,351 from September 2019 and down 11,833 from October of last year. There were 39,401 people who filed new claims, up 4,073 from September and down 631 from October of last year.
MONTHLY LABOR FORCE DATA FOR COUNTIES
October 2019 (Preliminary); 2018 Benchmark
NOT SEASONALLY ADJUSTED
COUNTY LABOR FORCE EMPLOYMENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
STATE TOTAL 19,587,500 18,869,200 718,300 3.7%
ALAMEDA 860,100 837,600 22,400 2.6%
ALPINE 470 440 20 5.2%
AMADOR 15,060 14,570 480 3.2%
BUTTE 104,400 100,400 4,000 3.8%
CALAVERAS 21,610 20,910 700 3.2%
COLUSA 11,090 10,280 810 7.3%
CONTRA COSTA 571,900 556,300 15,500 2.7%
DEL NORTE 9,890 9,400 490 4.9%
EL DORADO 92,200 89,400 2,800 3.0%
FRESNO 451,400 425,000 26,400 5.8%
GLENN 13,270 12,690 580 4.4%
HUMBOLDT 64,200 62,300 1,900 2.9%
IMPERIAL 73,800 58,100 15,700 21.2%
INYO 8,700 8,450 250 2.9%
KERN 393,300 369,200 24,100 6.1%
KINGS 57,900 54,300 3,600 6.3%
LAKE 29,820 28,600 1,220 4.1%
LASSEN 10,570 10,230 340 3.2%
LOS ANGELES 5,161,500 4,928,500 233,000 4.5%
MADERA 61,700 58,400 3,300 5.4%
MARIN 143,000 140,100 2,900 2.0%
MARIPOSA 7,750 7,490 260 3.4%
MENDOCINO 39,520 38,300 1,210 3.1%
MERCED 118,600 111,800 6,900 5.8%
MODOC 3,230 3,080 150 4.6%
MONO 8,400 8,090 310 3.6%
MONTEREY 228,200 219,700 8,400 3.7%
NAPA 75,400 73,600 1,700 2.3%
NEVADA 48,080 46,690 1,400 2.9%
ORANGE 1,633,900 1,592,600 41,300 2.5%
PLACER 186,900 181,800 5,200 2.8%
PLUMAS 7,890 7,500 390 4.9%
RIVERSIDE 1,106,100 1,062,800 43,300 3.9%
SACRAMENTO 716,000 692,800 23,200 3.2%
SAN BENITO 31,400 30,100 1,300 4.1%
SAN BERNARDINO 973,500 939,800 33,700 3.5%
SAN DIEGO 1,609,400 1,563,600 45,800 2.8%
SAN FRANCISCO 591,500 579,900 11,600 2.0%
SAN JOAQUIN 327,500 311,200 16,300 5.0%
SAN LUIS OBISPO 143,500 140,000 3,500 2.4%
SAN MATEO 467,200 458,700 8,500 1.8%
SANTA BARBARA 218,500 211,900 6,600 3.0%
SANTA CLARA 1,070,800 1,046,800 24,000 2.2%
SANTA CRUZ 144,300 139,400 4,800 3.3%
SHASTA 74,900 72,000 2,800 3.8%
SIERRA 1,370 1,310 50 3.9%
SISKIYOU 17,600 16,810 790 4.5%
SOLANO 209,200 202,400 6,800 3.3%
SONOMA 264,000 257,900 6,000 2.3%
STANISLAUS 244,600 232,700 11,900 4.9%
SUTTER 45,200 42,800 2,400 5.3%
TEHAMA 26,480 25,340 1,140 4.3%
TRINITY 4,730 4,520 210 4.4%
TULARE 202,800 186,500 16,300 8.0%
TUOLUMNE 21,680 20,890 780 3.6%
VENTURA 424,200 410,300 13,900 3.3%
YOLO 108,800 105,300 3,500 3.2%
YUBA 29,100 27,600 1,500 5.1%