01/28/2023

Reports » Job Reports

March 2015

Highlights for policy makers:

Unemployment Rate Declines to 6.5%; Total Employment Climbs 45,300

The Labor Force data for March 2015 (seasonally adjusted; California preliminary) is shown below, along with the change from the prior month:

Seasonally Adjusted California US

Mar 2015 Change from Feb 2015 Mar 2015 Change from Feb 2015
Unemployment Rate 6.5 -0.2 5.5 0
Labor Force 18,936,100 0.0% 156,906,000 -0.1%
Participation Rate 62.3 -0.1 62.7 -0.1
Employment 17,713,000 0.3% 148,331,000 0.0%
Unemployment 1,223,100 -4.2% 8,575,000 -1.5%

Source: California Employment Development Department; US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The related not seasonally adjusted numbers (California preliminary), with the change from March 2014:

Seasonally Adjusted California US

Mar 2015 Change from Mar 2014 March 2015 Change from March 2014
Unemployment Rate 6.5 -1.8 5.6 -1.2
Labor Force 18,879,200 0.4% 156,318,000 0.4%
Participation Rate 62.1 -0.5 62.5 -0.4
Employment 17,656,100 2.4% 147,635,000 1.8%
Unemployment 1,223,000 -21.6% 8,682,000 -17.6%

Source: California Employment Development Department; US Bureau of Labor Statistics

California Employment Development Department’s (EDD) latest release shows on a seasonally adjusted basis, total employment grew by 45,300, while the number of unemployed dropped by 53,300. California’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined from 6.7% in February to 6.5% in March. The unadjusted rate increased from 6.8% in February 2014 to 6.5% in March 2015.

By comparison, total US employment remained essentially level (seasonally adjusted increase of 34,000), while the number of unemployed decreased 1.5% (seasonally adjusted decrease of 130,000).

For both California and the US, improvement in the unemployment rate has come primarily as the unemployed have shifted to employed status or left the workforce. There has been little change in the overall labor force, and as discussed below, the labor force participation rate has again declined. While significantly improved over prior years, the current job creation rate has yet to be strong enough—except for some centers such as the Bay Area—to put upward pressure on wages and draw persons back into the workforce.

California’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains 18% higher than the national rate. California’s ranking improved slightly to be the 8th highest unemployment rate among the states.

Between March 2014 and March 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows the total number of employed in California increased by 457,279 (seasonally adjusted). This increase was the highest among the states, ahead of Texas (263,270) and Florida (208,927).

Adjusted for working population size, California had the 16th highest employment increase (15.0 additional employed per 1,000 Civilian Noninstitutional Population (Age 16+)), with Delaware (22.2 per 1,000 population), Massachusetts (21.6 per 1,000 population), and Arizona (21.5 per 1,000 population) in the leading slots.

Labor Force Participation Rate Drops to 62.3%, Matching Previous Low in 1976

The current data releases by both EDD and BLS reflect major revisions incorporating updated estimation methods along with application of the most recent population controls. Revisions to the labor force data in some cases extend back to 1990, including recalculation of the labor force participation rates.

The new data is shown below comparing California to the US. In general, the overall effect of the revisions was to increase the estimated labor force participation rate for California in years prior to 1992 (up to 2.2 percentage points), while revising the rate downwards in the years following (up to 1.0 percentage points lower since 2010).

Under the revised data, California’s participation rate (seasonally adjusted) has essentially remained level since September 2013, hovering between 62.4% and 62.3%, the previous low last experienced in 1976.

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nonfarm Jobs Increase 39,800

EDD reported that between February and March 2015, seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 39,800. February’s gains from January were revised downwards to 22,400.

Looking at the not seasonally adjusted numbers, the change in nonfarm payroll jobs from February 2015 saw the largest increases in Government (22,700), Construction (12,800), and Administrative & Support & Waste Services (11,600). Declines were felt in Real Estate & Rental & Leasing (-1,200), Finance & Insurance (-700), and Mining & Logging (-300).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Payroll Jobs Feb 2015 Mar 2015 Change Mar 2015 – Feb 2015 Change Mar 2015 – Mar 2014
Total Farm 346,700 350,200 3,500 -6,900
Mining and Logging 29,400 29,100 -300 -1,100
Construction 685,000 697,800 12,800 46,400
Manufacturing 1,257,600 1,263,500 5,900 5,000
Wholesale Trade 730,000 732,700 2,700 26,500
Retail Trade 1,627,600 1,628,900 1,300 34,500
Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities 528,800 530,700 1,900 24,900
Information 467,700 470,100 2,400 14,500
Finance and Insurance 523,100 522,400 -700 7,100
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 272,400 271,200 -1,200 10,300
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services 1,236,900 1,247,200 10,300 75,000
Management of Companies and Enterprises 228,100 229,200 1,100 4,300
Administrative & Support & Waste Services 1,029,200 1,040,800 11,600 51,300
Educational Services 374,900 379,800 4,900 11,400
Health Care and Social Assistance 2,095,700 2,105,600 9,900 70,500
Individual and Family Services 578,500 582,600 4,100 28,000
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 270,300 272,700 2,400 2,600
Accommodation and Food Service 1,503,900 1,514,300 10,400 62,700
Other Services 545,700 551,100 5,400 20,000
Government 2,453,500 2,476,200 22,700 36,300
Total Nonfarm 15,859,800 15,963,300 103,500 502,200
Total Wage and Salary 16,206,500 16,313,500 107,000 495,300

Source: California Employment Development Department

By total number of new jobs, California had the highest increase in seasonally adjusted Nonfarm jobs from March 2014 to March 2015, at 481,900 or 16.5% of the US total. Texas had the second highest, with 327,500 Nonfarm jobs or 11.2% of the US total.

By percentage increase, California’s job growth rate of 3.1% over the year was the 6th highest, behind Utah (3.9%), Florida (3.7%), Washington (3.4%), Oregon (3.3%), and Idaho (3.2%). The US average was 2.1%.

Adjusting for population, California’s job creation rate of 15.0 new jobs per 1,000 Civilian Noninstitutional Population age 16 and over (the available labor force population base) still exceeded the US average of 11.7. Among the states, California’s population adjusted growth rate was 11th largest and just behind Texas at 16.1.

7 Industries Remain Below 2007 Pre-Recession Job Levels

Source: California Employment Development Department, Wage & Salary Jobs (not seasonally adjusted), Average Annual Wage (Q3 2014)

Comparing the number of jobs by industry in March 2015 (not seasonally adjusted), 7 industries remain below the 2007 pre-recession levels and the remaining are above.

As indicated in the figure above, growth has been primarily in the lower wage and higher wage industries, with two of the top three growth industries paying well under $2,000 a month in average wages. The largest gaps remain in the middle class-wage industries of Manufacturing and Construction.

16 Counties Remain in Double-Digit Unemployment, Down from 20 in February

Two-Tier Economy Persists

Unemployment rates and employment (all data is not seasonally adjusted) continue to vary widely across the state.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate (%) Mar 2015
California 6.5
Bay Area4.3
Orange County4.4
San Diego/Imperial5.8
Sacramento Region5.9
Inland Empire6.5
Los Angeles7.0
Central Sierra7.1
Central Coast8.3
Upsate California8.7
Central Valley11.2
Ratio of Highest to Lowest Rate2.57

The Bay Area continues to dominate employment growth since the recession; with 19% of the state’s population, this region contains 59% of the net employment growth since March 2015. Los Angeles with 29% of the population contains only 10% of the net employment growth. Inland Empire, however, has recently shown stronger employment growth relative to its size.

By County:

Lowest 3 Unemployment Rates

San Mateo County 3.4
Marin County 3.5
San Francisco County 3.6

Highest 3 Unemployment Rates

Tulare County 13.2
Imperial County 18.6
Colusa County 20.6

Ratio of Highest to Lowest Rate: 6.06

By Legislative District:

Lowest 10 Unemployment Rates

SD 13 (Hill – D) 3.2 AD 22 (Mullin – D) 3.1
SD 37 (Moorlach – R) 3.7 AD 16 (Baker – R) 3.3
SD 11 (Leno – D) 3.7 AD 24 (Gordon – D) 3.3
SD 39 (Block – D) 4.2 AD 28 (Low – D) 3.4
SD 36 (Bates – R) 4.2 AD 77 (Maienschein – R) 3.6
SD 15 (Beall – D) 4.3 AD 74 (Harper – R) 3.7
SD 07 (DeSaulnier – D) 4.5 AD 19 (Ting – D) 3.7
SD 10 (Wieckowski – D) 4.6 AD 73 (Brough – R) 3.7
SD 38 (Anderson – R) 4.9 AD 68 (Wagner – R) 3.7
SD 29 (Huff – R) 4.9 AD 17 (Chiu – D) 3.7

Highest 10 Unemployment Rates

SD 30 (Mitchell – D) 8.2 AD 03 (Gallagher – R) 9.4
SD 33 (Lara – D) 8.4 AD 30 (Alejo – D) 9.4
SD 24 (de León – D) 8.4 AD 23 (Patterson – R) 9.7
SD 35 (Hall – D) 8.5 AD 13 (Eggman – D) 10.1
SD 40 (Hueso – D) 9.1 AD 64 (Gibson – D) 10.5
SD 08 (Berryhill – R) 9.4 AD 56 (Garcia – D) 12.1
SD 05 (Galgiani – D) 9.4 AD 21 (Gray – D) 12.8
SD 16 (Fuller – R) 9.8 AD 26 (Mathis – R) 12.9
SD 12 (Cannella – R) 11.7 AD 31 (Perea – D) 13.1
SD 14 (Vidak – R) 14.2 AD 32 (Salas – D) 13.4

Ratio of Highest to Lowest Rate: Senate 4.44
Ratio of Highest to Lowest Rate: Assembly 4.27

Note: All data sources, methodologies, and historical data series available at CenterforJobs.org.