Business & Real Estate

Another month, another record-low jobless rate in California

California’s ever-shrinking unemployment rate hit another record low in February.

The state Employment Development Department said Friday that California employers added 14,000 payroll jobs last month, sending the statewide jobless rate to 4.3 percent.

That broke the 4.4 percent record low reported in January.

The state noted that the all-time mark is based on the current record-keeping format that dates back to 1976.

EDD said California has gained more than 2.87 million jobs since economic expansion began in February 2010. Statewide non-farm payroll employment was more than 17 million in February.

While the monthly addition of 14,000 payroll jobs was relatively modest, economist Sung Won Sohn of California State University, Channel Islands, said “you have to use a three-month average to get a better picture.

“In December, January and February, that was 33,000, which is pretty respectable.”

Year-over-year, EDD said Golden State payrolls swelled by 383,600, a gain of 2.3 percent.

The number of unemployed Californians was 843,000 in February – down 9,000 in one month, and down by 143,000 compared with February of last year.

EDD said six of California’s 11 industry sectors added a combined 23,500 jobs in February. Professional and business services posted the largest increase with a gain of 8,300 jobs, followed by construction with 6,800 payroll additions.

Five industry sectors saw month-over-month declines, but accounting for a relatively low combined loss of 9,500 jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities saw the largest monthly decrease, shedding 3,100 positions. Information, formerly a red-hot sector, lost 1,000 jobs last month.

“We’ve clearly seen a slowdown in information, which was kind of the backbone of California’s economic growth a couple years ago. That’s no longer the case,” Sohn said.

Sohn added that the information sector’s decline likely has been impacted by a labor shortage, adding that the talent pool of comparatively young information professionals in the Bay Area has all but dried up.

EDD said the unemployment rate in Sacramento County last month remained steady at 4.2 percent, matching the January percentage. Non-seasonally adjusted data showed more than 676,000 employed countywide, with 29,600 unemployed.

EDD put the Sacramento region’s unemployment rate in February at 4.2 percent, also matching the January percentage. The jobless rate was 4.1 percent in El Dorado County, 3.5 percent in Placer County and 5.2 percent in Yolo County.

Cara Welch, EDD labor market consultant, said combined employment in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties increased by only 100 between January and February, to 983,500.