Statewide unemployment also fell sharply in November, to 4.6 percent from 4.9 percent a month earlier. The 4.6 percent statewide rate is the lowest since 1976, according to data compiled by economist Sung Won Sohn of CSU Channel Islands. The EDD said California employers added 47,400 workers to their payrolls last month. Although much of the job growth in November was seasonal, as employers geared up for the holidays, the new numbers also dovetail with other signs that the economy has been continuing to perk along in recent months.
Unemployment rates dropped to record lows in Alabama, California, Hawaii, Mississippi and Texas in November. The Labor Department's report on state unemployment showed rates fell in 19 other states, a positive sign for U.S. economic growth. Over the past 12 months, 27 states have added payroll jobs - with largest absolute gains in Texas, where the number of jobs climbed 330,600. California was second in job additions with 288,300. Job totals have essentially been unchanged in 23 other states. Hawaii reported the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 2 percent. The unemployment rate was below 2.7 percent in Nebraska, New Hampshire and North Dakota. In total, 17 states have unemployment rates below this national average of 4.1 percent.
Unfortunately for Governor Brown, the recession he fears may already have arrived in California. The following chart showing the trailing twelve month averages of California's civilian labor force and number of employed is one that we've adapted from a different project to show that data in the context of the state's higher-than-federal minimum wage increases and periods of negative GDP growth for the national economy. It shows that in 2017, the size of the state's labor force has peaked and begun to decline in 2017, while the number of employed shows very slow to stagnant growth during the year.
The economy appears to be on its firmest footing in at least a decade, with hiring picking up from earlier this year and the unemployment rate holding at a 17-year low in November.
When the latest jobs report comes out Friday, look beyond the top-line number. For months now economists have suggested that the low unemployment rate—4.1% as of last month’s report—implies that America is at or near full employment. Yet the labor market is still below its prerecession peak, with about two million jobs missing. Many of those workers have joined the disability rolls. Others have simply dropped out of the workforce in favor of leisure time.