05/09/2021

Reports » Job Reports

March 2016

Highlights for policy makers:

All data used in this month’s report reflects the March 2015 benchmark revisions recently released by EDD and BLS, and labor force data for all geographic areas in the Center’s Data Tool and Indicators has been updated as well. These revisions affect previously reported data and related estimates beginning in 2010.

Unemployment Rate Eases to 5.4%; Total Employment Rises 46,300

The Labor Force data for March 2016 (seasonally adjusted; California preliminary) is shown below, along with the change from the prior month:

Seasonally Adjusted California US
Mar 2016 Change from Feb 2016 Mar 2016 Change from Feb 2016
Unemployment Rate 5.4 -0.1 5.0 0.1
Labor Force 19,058,100 0.1% 158,286,000 0.2%
Participation Rate 62.0 0.0 63.0 0.1
Employment 18,038,100 0.3% 151,320,000 0.2%
Unemployment 1,020,000 -3.2% 7,966,000 1.9%
Source: California Employment Development Department; US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The related not seasonally adjusted numbers (California preliminary), with the change from March 2015:

Not Seasonally Adjusted California US
Mar 2016 Change from Mar 2015 Mar 2016 Change from Mar 2015
Unemployment Rate 5.6 -1.1 5.1 -0.5
Labor Force 19,028,200 0.4% 158,854,000 1.6%
Participation Rate 61.9 -0.4 62.8 0.3
Employment 17,971,100 1.6% 150,738,000 2.1%
Unemployment 1,057,100 -16.6% 8,116,000 -6.5%
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 46,300 from February, while the number of unemployed dropped by 34,000. California’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also notched down from 5.7% in February to 5.6% in March. The unadjusted rate decreased from 6.7% in March 2015 to 5.6% in March 2016.

Total US employment saw a seasonally adjusted increase of 246,000, while the number of unemployed increased by 151,000.

The US unemployment rate rose marginally to 5.0% primarily as a result of more workers being drawn into the labor force. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the 396,000 increase in the labor force in March was essentially the sum of the additional employed and unemployed. California’s improved unemployment rate, however, stems primarily from movement between the unemployed to employed. California’s labor force essentially remained the same, growing only 0.07%.

State Employment Growth Rankings

Change in Employment, March 2015 – March 2016
Rank Number of Employed Percentage Change Population Adjusted
(employment growth per 1,000 civilian
noninstitutional population)
1 CA 350,144 OR 5.5% OR 31.7
2 FL 264,137 TN 4.3% DE 24.7
3 TX 241,072 AR 4.2% TN 23.7
4 NY 193,674 DE 4.2% AZ 23.1
5 MI 157,420 AZ 4.1% AR 23.0
6 NC 128,774 MS 3.8% CO 20.6
7 TN 122,283 MI 3.5% MI 20.0
8 AZ 121,156 SC 3.3% MS 19.7
9 GA 114,341 CO 3.2% MO 18.8
10 NJ 113,022 HI 3.1% HI 18.6
11 IL 107,293 MO 3.0% DC 18.5
12 PA 107,061 FL 2.9% SC 18.1
13 OR 101,872 NC 2.9% IN 17.1
14 MO 88,897 DC 2.8% NC 16.6
15 IN 87,315 IN 2.8% FL 16.3
16 CO 86,917 NJ 2.6% NJ 16.0
17 WA 82,080 GA 2.6% GA 14.8
18 OH 80,494 WA 2.5% WA 14.7
19 SC 68,757 ID 2.3% UT 14.2
20 MN 60,606 NV 2.3% MN 14.2
21 WI 57,956 UT 2.2% ID 14.0
22 MD 53,252 NY 2.1% NV 13.4
23 AR 52,760 MN 2.1% WI 12.7
24 MS 44,836 CA 2.0% NY 12.2
25 VA 41,546 WI 2.0% TX 11.8
26 AL 30,984 TX 1.9% CA 11.5
  US 2,987,000 US 2.0% US 11.8
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Seasonally Adjusted

Between March 2015 and March 2016, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows the total number of employed in California increased by 350,144 (seasonally adjusted), or 11.7% of the total net employment gains in this period for the US. Measured by percentage change in employment over the year, California was 24th highest. Adjusted for population, California ranked 26th. While California remains the leading state when measured by total change in employment, the recent data revisions show a marked drop when ranked by percentage change or change relative to population.

Labor Force Participation Rate Unchanged at 62.0%

California’s participation rate (seasonally adjusted) remained unchanged from February 2016 at 62.0%. The comparable US rate increased 0.1% to 63.0%.

California’s seasonally adjusted labor force participation rate continues to remain below the previous lows recorded in 1976. The revised labor force data shows the participation rate has remained essentially level since August 2015, alternating between 61.9% and 62.0% during this period. This most recent leveling off may suggest a potential low point since the current downward trend began in October 2008, but as indicated in the chart below, the recent experience has been a stepped function, with intermittent periods of essentially level participation rates followed by a period of contraction. A key uncertainty at this point is what the effect will be of continuing state actions that raise the effective cost of employees—higher minimum wage, mandated leave, and pending proposals affecting scheduling and other employment laws—combined with continuing state and local actions aimed at applying traditional regulatory models to the evolving gig economy that has opened up new employment options in recent years.

The labor force participation rate has direct implications to a range of current policy challenges, including disparity in household incomes associated with fewer employed per household, the ability of households to afford the state’s continuously rising housing costs, and effects on state and local government finances. The 4% drop since 2008 represents 1.2 million Californians who are not now in the labor force; the 5.3% drop from the prior 2001 peak represents 1.6 million. While some of this shift can be attributed to demographic changes, California has a relatively younger population than the US average and like the rest of the US, has seen increases in the age at which workers retire, yet the state’s participation rate has remained below the US average since 2002.

Nonfarm Jobs Increase 4,200

EDD reported that between February and March 2016, seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 4,200. The February job gains were revised upwards to 46,600 from the preliminary estimate of 39,900.

Looking at the not seasonally adjusted numbers, hiring saw increases in all but 3 industries. The change in total payroll jobs from February 2016 saw the largest increases in Government (24,900), Accommodation & Food Services (12,000), and Health Care & Social Services (12,000). Declines were in Mining & Logging (-500), Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities (-200), and Construction (-100).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Payroll Jobs Feb 2016 Mar 2016 Change Mar 2016 – Feb 2016 Change Mar 2016 – Mar 2015
Total Farm 363,700 368,100 4,400 1,200
Mining & Logging 25,500 25,000 -500 -3,900
Construction 739,400 739,300 -100 41,100
Manufacturing 1,275,000 1,276,700 1,700 -4,200
Wholesale Trade 727,800 732,600 4,800 21,000
Retail Trade 1,654,600 1,658,500 3,900 31,200
Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities 556,500 556,300 -200 16,200
Information 493,700 494,200 500 14,800
Finance & Insurance 525,700 527,100 1,400 5,400
Real Estate & Rental & Leasing 271,800 274,200 2,400 8,500
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services 1,234,800 1,238,400 3,600 45,400
Management of Companies & Enterprises 232,100 233,700 1,600 4,600
Administrative & Support & Waste Services 1,051,000 1,052,100 1,100 19,100
Educational Services 370,400 373,600 3,200 16,100
Health Care & Social Assistance 2,157,800 2,169,800 12,000 90,400
Individual & Family Services 590,100 594,100 4,000 33,300
Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation 290,300 289,800 -500 11,600
Accommodation & Food Service 1,560,100 1,572,100 12,000 60,600
Other Services 547,900 548,500 600 9,400
Government 2,511,800 2,536,700 24,900 51,100
Total Nonfarm 16,226,200 16,298,600 72,400 438,400
Total Wage & Salary 16,589,900 16,666,700 76,800 439,600
Source: California Employment Development Department

By total number of new jobs, California had the highest increase in seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs among the states from March 2014 to March 2015, at 420,800 or 15.0% of the US net increase. By percentage growth in jobs, California was 14th highest, and by population adjusted jobs growth, 15th highest. As is the case with employment, California’s relative ranking by these last two measures has dropped under the revised data.

Change in Nonfarm Jobs (seasonally adjusted), March 2015 – March 2016
Rank Number of Jobs Employment Growth (%) Population Adjusted
(job growth per 1,000 civilian
noninstitutional population)
1 CA 420,800 ID 3.6% UT 20.6
2 FL 234,300 OR 3.3% ID 19.0
3 TX 185,000 UT 3.3% OR 18.0
4 NY 132,300 TN 3.2% DC 17.7
5 GA 130,000 WA 3.2% TN 17.6
6 VA 108,000 AZ 3.1% WA 17.5
7 NC 104,300 GA 3.1% HI 16.9
8 WA 99,700 HI 2.9% GA 16.5
9 MI 97,300 FL 2.9% CO 16.5
10 OH 94,700 NV 2.8% VA 16.5
11 TN 91,800 VA 2.8% NV 15.5
12 AZ 81,600 CO 2.8% DE 15.5
13 PA 81,000 SC 2.7% AZ 15.3
14 IL 79,900 CA 2.6% FL 14.2
15 NJ 77,900 DE 2.6% CA 13.7
16 CO 71,000 NC 2.5% SC 13.7
17 MD 62,400 MD 2.4% NC 13.3
18 MA 61,400 MI 2.3% MD 13.2
19 OR 58,600 AR 2.2% MI 12.3
20 SC 52,800 KY 2.0% NE 11.3
US 2,802,000 US 2.0% US 11.1
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Seven Industries Below 2007 Pre-Recession Job Levels

Source: California Employment Development Department, Wage & Salary Jobs (seasonally adjusted), wages are running 4 quarter average from QCEW wage data

Comparing the number of jobs by industry in March 2016 (not seasonally adjusted), seven industries showed employment below the 2007 pre-recession levels. In the highest gain industries, Health Care & Social Assistance (less Individual & Family Services) remained the leading industry, followed by the two lowest wage industries in 2nd and 3rd place.

12 Counties in Double-Digit Unemployment, 16 are 5% or Less

Two-Tier Economy Persists

Unemployment rates (all data is not seasonally adjusted) continue to vary widely across the state, ranging from 3.9% in the Bay Area to more than double at 10.7% in the Central Valley.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate (%) March 2016
California 5.6
Bay Area 3.9
Orange County 4.0
Los Angeles 5.0
San Diego/Imperial 5.3
Sacramento Region 5.4
Inland Empire 5.8
Central Sierra 6.5
Central Coast 8.2
Upstate California 8.3
Central Valley 10.7

By Legislative District:

Lowest 10 Unemployment Rates
CD 12 (Pelosi – D) 3.1 SD 12 (Hill – D) 2.9 AD 16 (Baker – R) 2.8
CD 45 (Walters – R) 3.2 SD 11 (Leno – D) 3.3 AD 22 (Mullin – D) 2.8
CD 18 (Eshoo – D) 3.3 SD 37 (Moorlach – R) 3.4 AD 24 (Gordon – R) 3.0
CD 14 (Speier – D) 3.4 SD 26 (Allen – D) 3.7 AD 28 (Low – D) 3.1
CD 52 (Peters – D) 3.4 SD 15 (Block – D) 3.7 AD 17 (Chiu – D) 3.3
CD 17 (Honda – D) 3.5 SD 36 (Bates – R) 3.8 AD 19 (Ting – D) 3.4
CD 33 (Lieu – D) 3.6 SD 25 (Beall – D) 4.0 AD 74 (Harper – R) 3.4
CD 27 (Chu – D) 3.7 SD 07 (Glazer – D) 4.1 AD 77 (Maienschein – R) 3.4
CD 48 (Rohrabacher – R) 3.8 SD 10 (Wieckowski – D) 4.1 AD 73 (Brough – R) 3.4
CD 39 (Royce – R) 3.9 SD 02 (Liu – D) 4.1 AD 66 (Hadley – R) 3.5
Highest 10 Unemployment Rates
CD 03 (Garamendi – D) 7.4 SD 20 (Leyva – D) 6.0 AD 30 (Alejo – D) 9.0
CD 01 (LaMalfa – R) 7.5 SD 35 (Hall – D) 6.0 AD 03 (Gallagher – R) 9.0
CD 09 (McNerney – D) 8.1 SD 17 (Monning – D) 6.6 AD 13 (Eggman – D) 9.4
CD 10 (Denham – R) 9.0 SD 04 (Nielsen – R) 7.3 AD 23 (Patterson – R) 9.4
CD 20 (Farr – D) 9.6 SD 40 (Hueso – D) 8.7 AD 34 (Grove – R) 9.5
CD 23 (McCarthy – R) 9.9 SD 05 (Galgiani – D) 8.7 AD 56 (Garcia – D) 11.3
CD 51 (Vargas – D) 10.2 SD 08 (Berryhill – R) 8.9 AD 31 (Arambula – D) 12.0
CD 22 (Nunes – R) 10.2 SD 16 (Fuller – R) 9.7 AD 26 (Mathis – R) 12.1
CD 16 (Costa – D) 12.1 SD 12 (Cannella – R) 11.1 AD 21 (Gray – D) 12.1
CD 21 (Valadao – R) 13.0 SD 14 (Vidak – R) 13.8 AD 32 (Salas – D) 13.8


8 California MSAs in the 10 Worst Unemplyment Rates Nationally

Of the 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with the worst unemployment rates nationally, 8 were in California. Of the 20 worst, 12 are in California.

US Rank MSA Mar 2016
Unemployment Rate
368 Wenatchee, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.3
369 Danville, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.4
370 Wheeling, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.5
371 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8
371 Stockton-Lodi, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8
373 Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area 9.0
374 Modesto, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 9.4
375 Beckley, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area 9.5
376 Madera, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 9.9
377 Yakima, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 10.3
378 Fresno, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 10.5
379 Salinas, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 10.8
380 Bakersfield, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 10.9
380 Yuba City, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 10.9
382 Hanford-Corcoran, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 11.3
383 Visalia-Porterville, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 12.1
384 Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 12.6
385 Ocean City, NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area 13.4
386 Yuma, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area 15.1
387 El Centro, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.6

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