By SETH SANDRONSKY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – California’s employers added 50,700 jobs in December, according to recent figures from the state Employment Development Department, for the survey week ending December 12, versus November’s revised upward 52,500 workers. With 12% of the American population, “California’s December 2021 gain of 50,700 nonfarm jobs accounted for nearly 25.5 percent of the nation’s 199,000 overall jobs gain for the month,” according to the EDD.
Meanwhile, California’s unemployment rate of 6.5% in December fell a half-percentage point from the revised upward 7.0% in November. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9% in December compared with 4.2% in November.
All of California’s major industries registered job gains in December except for mining and logging, which remained the same. According to the EDD, no industries shed employment in December for the first time since March 2021.
California’s leisure and hospitality employment led the way with 15,000 new hires in December versus 6,900 in November. Professional and business services added 12,000 new workers in December after gaining 18,800 in November.
Education and health services had 7,600 new hires in December, the third-highest total by industry compared with November’s 9,500 workers. Government employment added 4,100 new hires in December versus 5,300 workers in November.
Agriculture is a big industry in California and is often seen as a barometer of the state’s overall economic health. “The number of jobs in the agriculture industry decreased by 4,200 from November 2021 to 429,300 jobs in December,” according to the EDD. There was an increase of 11,100 farm jobs in December 2021 versus December 2020.
In the meantime, a pattern of uneven employment rates across California’s 58 counties continues. The following figures are preliminary and are seasonally unadjusted, according to the EDD.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, where professional and business service jobs are prevalent, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties had unemployment rates of 2.7%, 3.0 and 2.8%, respectively, in December versus 2.9%, 3.3% and 3.1%, in November. With the state’s largest labor force of 5 million, Los Angeles County had a 6.2% unemployment rate in December compared with November’s 7.1%.
By contrast, the unemployment rate in some of California’s rural areas where farm jobs dominate is higher. For instance, Imperial County in Southern California reported a 14.7% unemployment rate in December compared with November’s 15.5%. In the northern part of the state, rural Colusa County had a jobless rate of 11.9% in December versus 10.3% in November.