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Quick Facts: California Employment Report for May 2024

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Our initial analysis of the May Employment Report from the California Employment Development Department is abbreviated again this month as the full data we usually incorporate will not be released by US Bureau of Labor Statistics until next Tuesday.  Our full report will be released then.  For additional information and data about the California economy visit www.centerforjobs.org/ca.

Highlights for policy makers:

Stronger Growth in the May Jobs Data

Both the nonfarm job and employment numbers showed positive gains in May but again at different scales. Nonfarm jobs rose by 43,700, while the previously reported April gains were revised down by 1,100 to 4,100. With the preliminary May results, nonfarm jobs have now averaged gains of 17,000 in the first 5 months of 2024, higher than the 6,400 average set in the same period last year and closer to the 20,800 average for the entire pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Employment gains were also positive for the second month in a row, but barely significant at a gain of only 7,500.  Compared to May 2023, employment is down by 115,500 workers.

California Labor Force

Seasonally Adjusted California US
May 2024 Change from Apr 2024 May 2024 Change from Apr 2024
Unemployment Rate 5.2% -0.1 4.0% 0.1
Labor Force 19,338,400 0.0% 167,732,000 -0.1%
Participation Rate 62.5% -0.2
Employment 18,326,600 0.0% 161,083,000 -0.3%
Unemployment 1,009,800 -1.7% 6,649,000 2.4%
Not Seasonally Adjusted California US
May 2024 Change from May 2023 May 2024 Change from May 2023
Unemployment Rate 4.5% 0.2 3.7% 0.3
Labor Force 19,226,300 -0.1% 167,576,000 0.5%
Participation Rate 62.5% 0.0
Employment 18,353,500 -0.4% 161,341,000 0.2%
Unemployment 872,800 5.4% 6,235,000 9.4%

CA Unemployment Rate
California’s reported unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) in May improved 0.1 point to 5.2%.  The US rate rose 0.1 point to 4.0%.
CA Employment

Employment rose marginally by 7,500 (seasonally adjusted), with the total employment loss since May 2023 now at 115,500.

US employment fell by 408,000.

California unemployment was down 17,700, while US unemployment rose by 157,000.  California unemployment has remained above the 1 million mark for the past 5 months in a row.

Nonfarm Jobs

Nonfarm Jobs Change

Nonfarm wage and salary jobs posted their best performance since last October, with a gain of 43,700.  April’s far weaker gains were revised lower to 4,100.

For the US as a whole, nonfarm jobs rose 272,000 in May.

Nonfarm Jobs by Region

Job gains were positive across all regions.  The Los Angeles, Central Coast, and the budget-critical Bay Area still remain below their pre-pandemic peaks.

Nonfarm Jobs by Region
Source: EDD, seasonally adjusted
Change from April 2024Change from February 2020
Inland Empire3,800113,400
Central Valley3,40098,900
San Diego1,70043,900
Orange County1,50012,400
Central Coast1,500-10,000
Los Angeles9,300-46,100
Bay Area7,000-48,300

Because the data in the table is seasonally adjusted, the numbers should be considered as the total for the counties in each region rather than the regional number.  This job series also is not available for all areas in California.

Unemployment Rates by Region

Looking at employment (not seasonally adjusted), Los Angeles was the only region to show significant gains over the year.  Bay Area was 79,800 below for the year and 213,300 below the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

Change from May 2023
Los Angeles 19,300
Inland Empire 9,300
Upstate California 4,840
Central Valley 2,300
Central Sierra 2,130
Sacramento 1,130
San Diego/Imperial -14,900
Central Coast -15,800
Orange county -18,400
Bay Area -79,800

Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) remain higher in all regions except the rural areas compared to pre-pandemic February 2020 levels.

Unemployment Rate by Region
Source: EDD, not seasonally adjusted
Jun-24 Feb-20
California 5.3 4.3
Orange County 4.0 2.8
Bay Area 4.2 2.7
Central Sierra 4.6 4.5
Sacramento 4.7 3.7
San Diego/Imperial 5.0 3.8
Central Coast 5.3 7.0
Inland Empire 5.3 3.9
Los Angeles 5.8 4.3
Upstate California 6.0 6.3

Counties with Double-Digit Unemployment

Counties with Unemployment Above 10%

The number of counties with an unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) at 10% or more dipped to 2. The unadjusted rates ranged from 2.9% in San Mateo to 15.4% in Imperial.

Unemployment Rate by Legislative District

The estimated unemployment rates are shown below for the highest and lowest districts.  The full data and methodology are available on the Center’s website.

Lowest CD40 Kim (R) 2.9 SD13 Becker (D) 2.7 AD23 Berman (D) 2.6
CD11 Pelosi (D) 3.0 SD39 Atkins (D) 2.9 AD76 Maienschein (D) 2.6
CD15 Mullin (D) 3.0 SD40 Jones (R) 2.9 AD19 Ting (D) 2.8
CD50 Peters (D) 3.0 SD37 Min (D) 3.0 AD72 Dixon (R) 2.9
CD16 Eshoo (D) 3.1 SD38 Blakespear (D) 3.0 AD26 Low (D) 2.9
CD47 Porter (D) 3.2 SD11 Wiener (D) 3.1 AD21 Papan (D) 3.0
CD49 Levin (D) 3.2 SD34 Umberg (D) 3.5 AD16 Bauer-Kahan (D) 3.0
CD17 Khanna (D) 3.3 SD10 Wahab (D) 3.5 AD77 Boerner Horvath (D) 3.1
CD10 DeSaulnier (D) 3.3 SD36 Nguyen (R) 3.5 AD68 Valencia (D) 3.1
CD02 Huffman (D) 3.3 SD15 Cortese (D) 3.5 AD12 Connolly (D) 3.1
Highest CD03 Kiley (R) 5.6 SD05 Eggman (D) 5.5 AD65 Gipson (D) 6.1
CD48 Issa (R) 5.7 SD26 Durazo (D) 5.6 AD39 Carrillo (D) 6.1
CD46 Correa (D) 5.8 SD21 Wilk (R) 5.7 AD22 Alanis (R) 6.4
CD51 Jacobs (D) 6.0 SD35 Bradford (D) 5.8 AD32 Fong (R) 6.8
CD14 Swalwell (D) 6.2 SD28 Smallwood-Cuevas (D) 5.9 AD57 Jones-Sawyer (D) 7.2
CD45 Steel (R) 6.4 SD33 Gonzalez (D) 6.0 AD31 Arambula (D) 8.6
CD35 Torres (D) 7.6 SD12 Grove (R) 6.1 AD27 Soria (D) 8.6
CD26 Brownley (D) 8.1 SD18 Padilla (D) 6.9 AD35 Bains (D) 9.0
CD04 Thompson (D) 8.4 SD14 Caballero (D) 8.7 AD36 Garcia (D) 9.2
CD38 Sánchez (D) 9.7 SD16 Hurtado (D) 9.5 AD33 Mathis (R) 9.7