California’s unemployment rate edged upward to 4.8 percent in July, even as more than 80,000 jobs were added to employer payrolls.
The jobless rate reported Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department moved up from the record-tying low of 4.7 percent seen in both May and June.
July also marked the fifth consecutive month that the statewide jobless rate was less than 5 percent. Percentage-wise, the unemployment numbers are even lower than those seen in the waning days of the housing boom in 2006, just before the state’s residential real estate market plunged amid the recession.
The department said non-farm payroll employment statewide totaled 16,784,100 in July, which included a June-to-July gain of 82,600 jobs. The year-over-year jobs gain totaled 276,300, a nearly 2 percent annual increase.
EDD reported 925,000 unemployed Californians in July, up by 24,000 in one month, but down by 114,000 compared with July of last year.
The department noted that California has gained nearly 2.6 million jobs since economic expansion began in February 2010.
Nine of California’s 11 industry sectors added 84,100 jobs in July. Government posted the largest increase with a gain of 18,800, followed by a bump of 18,600 in educational and health services. The manufacturing and mining/logging sectors shed a combined 1,500 jobs from June to July
Michael Bernick, a labor lawyer in San Francisco and a former EDD director, noted that monthly job gains paired with a rising unemployment rate were not unusual: “As the job market improves, Californians who previously might have withdrawn from looking for work will return.”
He said he was encouraged by monthly job additions across so many sectors, adding that California accounted for more than one-third of the nation’s 209,000 job gains in July.
“We are now in the 88th month of employment expansion, one of the longest periods in the post-World War II period,” he said.
Bernick added that the “Bay Area remains white hot,” with San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties all having jobless rates of less than 4 percent in July, according to EDD’s numbers.
Sacramento County’s preliminary, non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in July, with 37,700 unemployed, according to EDD.