01/28/2023

Reports » Job Reports

March 2017 Job Report

 Highlights for policy makers:

Unemployment Rate Eases to 4.9%; Total Employment Up 37,100

The Labor Force data for March 2017 (seasonally adjusted; California preliminary) is shown below, along with the change from the prior month:

Seasonally Adjusted California US
March 2017 Change from Feb 2017 March 2017 Change from Feb 2017
Unemployment Rate 4.9 -0.1 4.5 -0.2
Labor Force 19,168,900 0.1% 160,201,000 0.1%
Participation Rate 62.1 0.0 63.0 0.0
Employment 18,226,700 0.2% 153,000,000 0.3%
Unemployment 942,100 -2.6% 7,202,000 -4.3%
Source: California Employment Development Department; US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The related not seasonally adjusted numbers (California preliminary), with the change from March 2016:

Not Seasonally Adjusted California US
Mar 2017 Change from Mar 2016 Mar 2017 Change from Mar 2016
Unemployment Rate 5.1 -0.7 4.6 -0.5
Labor Force 19,167,900 0.4% 159,912,000 0.7%
Participation Rate 62.1 -0.3 62.9 0.1
Employment 18,193,500 1.2% 152,628,000 1.3%
Unemployment 974,400 -11.8% 7,284,000 -10.3%
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 rose 37,100 from February, while the number of unemployed dropped by 25,100. The labor force grew by 12,100

California’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued easing to 4.9%. California tied with Illinois, North Carolina, and Washington for the 14th highest unemployment rate among the states. The unadjusted rate dropped from 5.8% in March 2016 to 5.1%.

Total US employment saw a seasonally adjusted increase of 472,000 from February, while the number of unemployed dropped by 326,000. The national unemployment rate continued dropping 0.2 point to 4.5%. The national labor force numbers continued expanding by 145,000.

Labor Force Participation Rate Level Unchanged at 62.1%

California’s participation rate (seasonally adjusted) remained unchanged in March, while the US rate also was unchanged. The California participation rate still remains near the previous lows from 1976, and well below the average pre-recession level of 65.6% in 2007.

Compared to November 2016, growing business and consumer confidence has seen the national labor force grow by 745,000 and the participation rate by 0.4 percentage points as workers have been drawn back into the labor force. In California, the labor force has remained essentially unchanged (net gain of 4,200), while the rate has dropped 0.2 points.

State Employment Growth Rankings—California Remains in 2nd Place Behind Florida

Change in Employment, March 2016 – March 2017
Rank Number of Employed Percentage Change Population Adjusted
(employment growth per 1,000 civilian
noninstitutional population)
1 FL 342,000 UT 4.3% UT 28.5
2 CA 267,400 KY 4.2% KY 22.6
3 TX 245,400 AZ 3.8% AZ 21.4
4 GA 151,600 FL 3.7% FL 20.7
5 AZ 114,200 GA 3.3% GA 19.3
6 NC 111,100 ME 3.0% CO 18.5
7 NY 105,100 OR 3.0% ME 18.0
8 WA 100,600 WA 2.9% WA 17.7
9 MI 95,000 CO 2.9% OR 17.7
10 MA 89,700 HI 2.7% MA 16.3
11 VA 79,800 MA 2.6% HI 16.1
12 CO 79,500 NV 2.6% NV 15.2
13 KY 78,200 MS 2.6% ID 14.5
14 TN 65,800 SC 2.5% SC 14.3
15 UT 62,200 NC 2.4% NC 14.1
16 MD 60,700 ID 2.4% ND 13.6
17 OR 57,700 TN 2.2% MS 13.5
18 SC 55,400 AL 2.1% MD 12.9
19 WI 45,000 MI 2.1% TN 12.7
20 NJ 43,700 MD 2.0% DC 12.4
21 AL 42,800 VA 2.0% VA 12.2
22 OH 42,600 ND 2.0% MI 12.0
23 PA 40,700 TX 1.9% TX 11.8
24 IL 37,400 DC 1.9% AL 11.2
25 NV 34,700 CT 1.7% CT 10.9
26 CT 31,200 WI 1.5% WI 9.9
27 MS 30,900 CA 1.5% RI 8.9
28 IN 30,400 RI 1.5% CA 8.7
29 MN 25,400 AK 1.2% VT 7.6
30 ME 19,700 VT 1.2% AK 7.3
US 1,699,000 US 1.1% US 6.7
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Seasonally Adjusted

Between March 2016 and March 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows the total number of employed in California increased by 267,400 (seasonally adjusted), or 15.7% of the total net employment gains in this period for the US. For the second month in a row and for the second month since 2012, California remained in 2nd place behind Florida (which has a civilian working age population only 55% as large as California’s) at 342,000. Measured by percentage change in employment over the year, California dropped to 27th highest. Adjusted for population, California dropped to 28th. Much of the lower California performance is related to the recent labor force data revisions which downsized previous employment estimates in the 2nd half of 2016 by as much as 1.3%.

Nonfarm Jobs Increase 19,300

EDD reported that between February and March 2017, seasonally adjusted nonfarm wage and salary jobs grew by 19,300. February’s gains were revised to 21,500 from the previously reported gain of 22,900. Much of the March gains were weather-driven as breaks in the rains saw Construction alone expand by 18,900.

Looking at the not seasonally adjusted numbers, hiring saw increases in all but three industries over the year. The change in total payroll jobs from March 2016 saw the largest increases in Government (54,900) as tax and fee revenues have continued to expand, Health Care (47,300), and Construction (43,400). Declines were in Manufacturing (-4,900), Mining & Logging (-2,500), and Utilities (-300).

Not Seasonally Adjusted Payroll Jobs Mar 2017 Feb 2017 Change Mar 2017 – Feb 2017 Change Mar 2017 – Mar 2016
Total Farm 372,500 367,900 4,600 14,700
Mining & Logging 22,100 22,200 -100 -2,300
Construction 787,700 768,800 18,900 43,400
Manufacturing 1,292,600 1,287,900 4,700 -4,900
Wholesale Trade 732,100 734,500 -2,400 18,500
Retail Trade 1,661,600 1,659,800 1,800 11,900
Utilities 58,300 58,400 -100 -300
Transportation & Warehousing 529,100 528,200 900 17,600
Information 524,400 527,700 -3,300 8,700
Finance & Insurance 546,600 547,600 -1,000 7,100
Real Estate & Rental & Leasing 279,700 279,800 -100 7,900
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services 1,236,300 1,238,000 -1,700 30,500
Management of Companies & Enterprises 227,700 227,200 500 2,900
Administrative & Support & Waste Services 1,076,800 1,069,600 7,200 14,100
Educational Services 381,800 379,100 2,700 16,600
Health Care 1,484,200 1,477,000 7,200 47,300
Social Assistance 746,800 743,800 3,000 26,600
Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation 295,100 291,100 4,100 5,600
Accommodation 222,300 220,900 1,400 3,700
Food Services 1,393,400 1,380,500 12,900 40,900
Other Services 566,400 563,500 2,900 17,800
Government 2,595,700 2,566,600 29,100 54,900
Total Nonfarm 16,660,700 16,572,100 88,600 368,500
Total Wage & Salary 17,033,200 16,940,000 93,200 383,200
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 2016 to March 2017, at 346,400 or 15.9% of the US net increase. By percentage growth in jobs, California rose to 10th highest, and by population adjusted jobs growth, 12th highest.

Change in Nonfarm Jobs (seasonally adjusted), March 2016 – March 2017
Rank Number of Jobs Employment Growth (%) Population Adjusted
(job growth per 1,000 civilian
noninstitutional population)
1 CA 346,400 UT 3.2% UT 20.3
2 TX 249,000 GA 3.0% GA 16.5
3 FL 246,100 NV 3.0% NV 16.5
4 GA 131,000 FL 3.0% WA 16.0
5 NY 114,300 WA 2.9% FL 14.6
6 WA 92,400 ID 2.7% ID 14.5
7 MI 79,800 OR 2.2% TN 12.1
8 NC 69,700 TN 2.2% MT 12.0
9 TN 63,500 MT 2.1% OR 11.9
10 PA 60,600 CA 2.1% TX 11.8
11 AZ 53,000 TX 2.1% DC 11.3
12 NJ 49,700 AZ 2.0% CA 11.2
13 CO 49,100 CO 1.9% CO 11.2
14 MA 49,000 MI 1.9% SD 10.6
15 VA 45,800 SC 1.8% MN 10.2
16 UT 45,300 MD 1.6% MI 10.1
17 IN 45,100 SD 1.6% AZ 9.7
18 MN 44,300 NC 1.6% MD 9.3
19 MD 44,200 MN 1.5% SC 9.1
20 OR 39,500 KY 1.5% MA 8.8
US 2,185,000 US 1.5% US 8.6
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

6 Industries below 2007 Pre-Recession Job Levels

Source: California Employment Development Department, not seasonally adjusted; wages are running 4 quarter average from QCEW wage data

Comparing the number of jobs by industry in March 2017 (not seasonally adjusted), 6 industries had employment below the 2007 pre-recession levels. In the highest gain industries, Health Care remained the leading industry, followed by the two lowest wage industries (Food Services and Social Assistance) and higher wage Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. Of the lagging industries, three—Manufacturing, Mining & Logging, and Construction—are blue collar middle class wage industries, while the higher wage Finance & Insurance also continued to lose ground.

Job Gains by Wage Level

In the January budget proposal, the Governor identified the increasing dominance of lower wage slots in total jobs growth as one of the key factors slowing state revenues growth. The following chart illustrates this trend, according to the industry wage classification used previously in other Center analyses of this issue. In the chart below, Private sector jobs are shown in the dark green bands, while Government is shown in the lighter. As indicated, nearly one-third of jobs growth over the past 12 months has been in the low wage industries.

Source: Analysis of California Employment Development Department data, not seasonally adjusted

Two-Tier Economy Persists—Central Valley Unemployment Nearly 3 Times as High as Bay Area

Unemployment rates (all data is not seasonally adjusted) continue to vary widely across the state, ranging from 3.6% in the Bay Area to nearly three times as large at 10.4% in the Central Valley.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate (%) March 2017
California 5.1
Bay Area 3.6
Orange County 3.7
Los Angeles 4.4
San Diego/Imperial 4.9
Sacramento Region 5.0
Inland Empire 5.3
Central Sierra 5.7
Upstate California 7.5
Central Coast 7.9
Central Valley 10.4

By Legislative District:

Lowest 10 Unemployment Rates:
CD12 (Pelosi-D) 2.9 SD13 (Hill-D) 2.7 AD16 (Baker-R) 2.5
CD18 (Eshoo-D) 3.0 SD11 (Wiener-D) 3.1 AD22 (Mullin-D) 2.5
CD52 (Peters-D) 3.0 SD26 (Allen-D) 3.2 AD24 (Berman-D) 2.8
CD45 (Walters-R) 3.0 SD37 (Moorlach-R) 3.3 AD28 (Low-D) 2.9
CD14 (Speier-D) 3.1 SD39 (Atkins-D) 3.3 AD17 (Chiu-D) 3.0
CD33 (Lieu-D) 3.1 SD36 (Bates-R) 3.4 AD77 (Maienschein-R) 3.0
CD17 (Khanna-D) 3.2 SD32 (Mendoza-D) 3.5 AD66 (Muratsuchi-D) 3.1
CD27 (Chu-D) 3.3 SD07 (Glazer-D) 3.6 AD19 (Ting-D) 3.1
CD15 (Swalwell-D) 3.4 SD10 (Wieckowski-D) 3.6 AD73 (Brough-R) 3.1
CD49 (Issa-R) 3.4 SD25 (Portantino-D) 3.6 AD78 (Gloria-D) 3.2
Highest 10 Unemployment Rates
CD01 (LaMalfa-R) 6.7 SD20 (Leyva-D) 5.4 AD03 (Gallagher-R) 8.3
CD03 (Garamendi-D) 7.0 SD06 (Pan-D) 5.5 AD30 (Caballero-D) 8.6
CD09 (McNerney-D) 7.5 SD17 (Monning-D) 6.3 AD13 (Eggman-D) 8.9
CD10 (Denham-R) 8.3 SD04 (Nielsen-R) 6.7 AD23 (Patterson-R) 9.1
CD20 (Panetta-D) 9.3 SD05 (Galgiani-D) 8.1 AD34 (Fong-R) 9.2
CD23 (McCarthy-R) 9.6 SD40 (Hueso-D) 8.3 AD56 (Garcia-D) 10.9
CD51 (Vargas-D) 9.7 SD08 (Berryhill-R) 8.4 AD21 (Gray-D) 11.6
CD22 (Nunes-R) 9.9 SD16 (Fuller-R) 9.3 AD31 (Arambula-D) 11.8
CD16 (Costa-D) 12.0 SD12 (Cannella-R) 10.7 AD26 (Mathis-R) 12.0
CD21 (Valadao-R) 12.9 SD14 (Vidak-R) 14.0 AD32 (Salas-D) 13.8

8 California MSAs in the 10 Worst Unemployment Rates Nationally

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

Metropolitan Area February 2017 rate Rank
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Stockton-Lodi, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Modesto, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Rockford, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Madera, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Yakima, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Fresno, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Salinas, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Yuba City, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Bakersfield, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Hanford-Corcoran, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Visalia-Porterville, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Yuma, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
Ocean City, NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378
El Centro, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 8.8 378