Business & Real Estate

Hiring hot streak takes California's jobless rate to record low

How to interview at a job fair

Five people conducting interviews at the Career Fair held on Thursday, March 24 at the USCB Hilton Head Gateway Campus give a few tips on things to do -- and not to do -- when applying for a job.
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Five people conducting interviews at the Career Fair held on Thursday, March 24 at the USCB Hilton Head Gateway Campus give a few tips on things to do -- and not to do -- when applying for a job.

California’s employers added 35,500 payroll jobs in January, maintaining a hot streak that kept statewide unemployment at only 4.4 percent to start the year.

The state Employment Development Department said California has gained more than 2.85 million jobs since economic expansion began in February 2010.

The state called the 4.4 percent rate a record low.

EDD previously reported that California’s unemployment rate fell to a record low 4.3 percent in December, the lowest rate since EDD commenced its record-keeping format in 1976. However, work force and employment data are updated annually in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. EDD said that process resulted in a revision of California's December 2017 jobless rate to 4.5 percent.

EDD said the number of unemployed Californians in January was 851,000, down 15,000 from December and a decline of 152,000 compared with January last year. In January 2017, the state's jobless rate was 5.2 percent.

In January this year, eight of California’s eleven industry sectors added a combined 44,300 jobs.

Construction posted the largest month-over-month increase with a gain of 11,100 jobs, followed by trade, transportation and utilities, with a surge of 10,800, and educational and health services, up 10,700.

Two industry sectors saw monthly declines. The professional and business services segment lost 7,300 jobs; the information sector shed 1,500. The mining and logging sector was unchanged.

EDD put the Sacramento region’s unemployment rate in January at 4.2 percent, up from a revised 3.8 percent in December 2017 but below the year-ago estimate of 5.5 percent.

The unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in Sacramento County, 4 percent in El Dorado County, 3.5 percent in Placer County and 5 percent in Yolo County.

Cara Welch, EDD labor market consultant, said combined employment in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties decreased by 14,100 between December and January, to 979,800 jobs.

Between January 2017 and January 2018, however, total jobs in the region increased by 26,400, or 2.8 percent. Construction positions led the way with a year-over-year increase of 8,400 jobs. Specialty trade contractors alone accounted for 4,000 job gains.

Michael Bernick, a labor lawyer in San Francisco and a former EDD director, noted that we're approaching nearly 100 months of employment expansion statewide and said he was struck by “the near-unprecedented low unemployment rates in Bay Area and major Southern California counties.”

He added: “The unemployment rate in most of the Bay Area counties is below 3 percent, including 2.9 percent in Santa Clara, 2.4 percent in San Mateo and 2.6 percent in San Francisco. In the larger Southern California counties, with labor forces of over 1.5 million workers each, not far behind (are) Orange at 3.1 percent and San Diego at 3.6 percent.

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