By SETH SANDRONSKY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – The California economy continues to rebound from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, according to recent figures from the state Employment Development Department.
In March, employers hired 60,200 workers for nonfarm payroll jobs as the unemployment rate fell to 4.9% versus February’s 5.3%. The nonfarm payroll jobs data is from a federal survey of 80,000 California firms, while the unemployment rate figures derive from a separate survey of 5,100 households.
“Today’s report is more good news for California’s continued economic recovery,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in a prepared statement, “representing thousands of new opportunities for workers throughout the state. We’re committed to building on these gains and our progress toward creating a stronger, fairer and more prosperous state for all Californians to live and work.”
Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 431,000 jobs in March, and the rate of unemployment fell to 3.6%. The Golden State registered 14% of those nationwide job gains.
The Golden State had clawed back nearly 90%, or 2,463,400 of the 2,758,900 nonfarm job losses in March and April 2020, when Gov. Newsom issued a stay-at-home executive order to slow the spread of COVID-19 that drove employment numbers down.
None of California’s 11 industry sectors lost jobs for the second straight month. In March, leisure and hospitality hiring topped the list with 14,800 new hires, delivering a year-over-change of 410,300. Professional and business services employment grew 10,400 jobs in March, due in part to 2021 income tax filing activity, with 136,500 new hires from March 2021.
In March, mining employment did not change, also the case in February and January 2022. The four California industry sectors that have recovered all job losses from pandemic closures are education and health services, professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities and construction. California’s March jobs report shows less than one million unemployed workers, a first since February 2020. Meanwhile, The California Chamber of Commerce has put on its “job killer” list Assembly Bill 2932. AB 2932 would amend Section 510 of the Labor Code and define a full workweek as 32 hours for firms with more than 500 employees. According to the CoC, AB 2932 would hike the price of labor services via a requirement for overtime pay in excess of 32 hours weekly.