California’s unemployment rate rose to 5.8 percent last month, although job growth was strong.
The Employment Development Department said Friday that the unemployment rate grew one-tenth of a percentage point despite a gain of 60,400 non-farm payroll jobs. Payroll statistics and the unemployment rate are calculated from two separate surveys, and most economists say the payroll figures tend to be a more reliable indicator of the economy’s direction.
The December figures suggest the California economy continues to perform well despite suggestions of a slowdown in the global economy. Financial turmoil in China has hurt the stock market and the weakened global economy has already put a dent in California’s exports.
Sung Won Sohn, an economist at California State University, Channel Islands, said statewide tourism is also beginning to decline because of economic troubles in China, Latin America and Europe. He added that investors from Asia and Latin America have “stepped back” from buying California real estate.
California has added 459,400 jobs in the past 12 months, a gain of 2.9 percent.
Sacramento unemployment held steady 5.5 percent in December, the same as the month before, amid modest job growth. Employers added 500 jobs in the four-county region, with the leisure and hospitality sector adding 1,600 jobs by itself. The government sector shrank by 3,300 jobs, due mainly to a drop in employment among local governments.
Over the past year, the Sacramento area has added 22,900 jobs, a growth rate of 2.5 percent.