Unemployment rates rose in California and Sacramento last month despite steady job growth statewide and the strongest month of hiring in Sacramento in 14 years.
Economists said the higher unemployment rates, oddly, reflect continued improvement in the economy in June. Thousands of Californians flooded into the job market, in part because of the end of the school year but also because of optimism. Employers were hiring but not in sufficient numbers to accommodate everyone.
The result was a 0.2 percent increase in the statewide unemployment rate, to 5.4 percent, the Employment Development Department said. California employers added 40,300 payroll jobs during the month. That followed a gain of 27,500 jobs in May.
“The job machine continues to barrel along setting aside all the doubters and skeptics,” said economist Sung Won Sohn, of California State University, Channel Islands, in a note to reporters.
In greater Sacramento, the rate jumped nine-tenths of a point, to 5.6 percent, even though the region added a robust 11,000 jobs in the month. It was the largest monthly increase in greater Sacramento payrolls since a gain of 11,100 jobs in March 2002, said EDD analyst Nati Martinez.
She said many of the new jobs were seasonal, in such industries as leisure and hospitality, but there were other factors at work. The professional, scientific and technical services industries added 1,100 jobs, while government agencies added 2,000 jobs.
The four-county region has added 26,600 jobs over the past year, a 2.9 percent growth rate. That matches the statewide job-growth rate, which is significant because Sacramento has generally lagged the rest of the state during much of the recovery.