Business & Real Estate

California jobless rate holds steady in September

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California’s jobless rate held steady at 5.1 percent in September, but a hefty 52,200 jobs were added to Golden State payrolls last month.

The state Employment Development Department said Friday that non-farm payroll employment statewide totaled 16,830,500 in September. Year-over-year, there was an overall gain 280,300 jobs, a 1.7 percent increase.

EDD said the number of unemployed Californians was 986,000 last month, up 13,000 from August but down 37,000 compared with September last year.

EDD said eight of California’s eleven major industry sectors added a combined 57,100 jobs in September, with the government sector posting the largest monthly gain – 27,000 jobs.

Three industry sectors reported job declines month-to-month, down a total of 4,900 jobs. Professional and business services saw the largest monthly decline, down 3,500 jobs.

Michael Bernick, a labor lawyer in San Francisco and a former EDD director, noted that the “job gains in California were well above every other state. …Nationwide, there was actually a decline of 33,000 jobs, though this reflected in part the impacts of the hurricanes, especially in Florida, which lost 127,000 jobs.”

Bernick also predicted little impact on the overall state numbers in October as a result of this month’s Northern California wildfires.

“Even a loss of 3,000 to 4,000 jobs, while very significant in a local economy like Sonoma-Napa, has limited impact in statewide numbers, which include 16.8 million payroll jobs.”

The 5.1 percent jobless rate matched that reported in August, the first time in six months that statewide unemployment surpassed the 5 percent threshold. Unemployment was 4.8 percent in July this year, and it stood at an all-time record-tying low of 4.7 percent seen in both May and June.

EDD said Friday that California has gained more than 2.6 million jobs since economic expansion began in February 2010.

Sacramento County’s preliminary, non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in September, with 33,100 unemployed. That was a significant improvement over 5.4 percent, and 37,900 jobless countywide, reported for August.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover