California’s unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent in January even though payroll jobs actually shrank during the month.
The Employment Development Department said Friday the statewide unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point. However, non-farm payroll jobs, considered one of the key barometers of economic health, declined by 1,500 compared with December.
It’s not unusual for the two indicators, which are calculated from separate surveys, to go in separate directions in any given month. Many economists say year-over-year comparisons are usually more reliable, and California’s unemployment rate has declined markedly since January 2015, from 6.8 percent to 5.7 percent.
In the Sacramento area, unemployment held steady at 5.5 percent in January, although payroll jobs dropped by 8,500. The unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in January 2015.
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Despite the one-month drop in payrolls, California has seen some of the strongest job growth in the country in the past year. The state has added 444,900 jobs since January 2015, a growth rate of 2.8 percent. The Sacramento area has added 24,300 jobs in the past year, a growth rate of 2.7 percent.