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Quick Facts: January 2023

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The Center for Jobs and the Economy has released our initial analysis of the December Employment Report from the California Employment Development Department. For additional information and data about the California economy visit www.centerforjobs.org/ca.

This report report is an abbreviated version due to the annual revisions in the labor force data.  This year’s is more extensive than usual, with the jobs data being revised for 1990-2022, California and Los Angeles MSA labor force data for the same period, and the other counties for 2021.  The remaining updates will then be released as part of the February data later this month.  The full data revisions along with the full states’ data from US Bureau of Labor Statistics will be analyzed in our Full January 2023 Jobs Report.

Unemployment Insurance Claims

Initial unemployment claims in California saw a sharp rise in the week ending March 4, rising 26% from the previous week to 51,026.  On a 4-week moving average basis, however, initial claims are generally following last year’s trend and at a reduced level.

As an indication of the state’s weaker overall recovery, California continues to show a significantly higher reliance on this program than the other states.  On a 4-week moving average basis, California initial claims as of the week ending March 4 were 21% of the national total.  Insured unemployment—a proxy for continuing claims—as of the week ending February 25 were also 21% of the national total.

Federal Trust Fund Debt Now Down to California & New York

With almost all of the other states paying off their pandemic debt—including use of federal pandemic assistance funds specifically earmarked for this purpose—the remaining debt essentially comes down to California and New York.  At $18.6 billion as of March 7, California accounts for 69% of the total.

CA Unemployment Rate

CA Unemployment Rate

California’s reported unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) in January dipped to 4.2%.

The December numbers show employment up 21,300 for the month.  Unemployment rose 23,500.  The labor force grew 44,700

US Unemployment Rate

US Unemployment Rate

The reported national numbers show US unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) improved to 3.4% in January and edged down to 3.6% in February as the national labor force showed a strong gain of 1.3 million workers over the two months.  In January, employment was up 894,000, unemployment down 28,000, and the labor force up 866,000.  The labor force participation rate improved 0.1 point to 62.4%.

Nonfarm Jobs

Nonfarm Jobs Change

Nonfarm wage and salary jobs were up 96,700, while the annual revisions moved December’s gains up much higher from 16,200 to 124,000.

Nonfarm jobs nationally were up 504,000 in January and 311,000 in February.

Job Openings

1.25 mil
Job Openings

California unfilled job openings at the end of December rose for the fifth straight month to 1.251 million.  Nationally, job openings also rose in December to 11.2 million, but then edged down to 10.8 million in January.

Counties with Double-Digit Unemployment

Counties with Unemployment Above 10%

The number of counties with an unemployment rate at 10% or more edged up to 3. The unadjusted rates ranged from 2.6% in San Mateo to 17.5% in Colusa.