Slow Times: CA and NV Job Growth Continues Plodding Along

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California’s job market was making much slower headway in November as it continued its recovery, and Nevada’s employment scene was still sluggish. While both states’ economies have recuperated differently from the COVID-19 recession, today their pace of labor markets seem similar: just plodding along.

The following are the latest November figures released this week by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the Nevada Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Department (DETR):

California’s November 2020 Employment Numbers
The California report shows the state’s unemployment rate falling to 8.2 percent in November (from a “readjusted” 9 percent in October). Employers added 57,100 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in November:

  • California has now regained 46 percent (or 1.2 million jobs) of the approximate 2.62 million jobs lost during March and April of 2020.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total nearly 16.2 million. However, the total number of Californians holding jobs (both non-farm and agriculture related) was nearly 17.4 million, which is down 1.4 million from the combined “total” employment this time last year.
  • Total non-farm jobs decreased by 1.34 million (-7.6 percent) from November 2019 to November 2020 compared to a U.S. annual loss of -6.1 percent.
  • Nine of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs last month. For the third consecutive month, leisure and hospitality posted the largest job sector gain with an increase of 27,800 jobs, thanks in part to the resilience shown throughout the fall season by the arts, entertainment and recreation subsector. Trade, transportation and utilities posted an increase of 19,700 jobs and was boosted by sizeable gains in the transportation, warehousing and utilities subsector.
  • For the third straight month, government posted the largest industry job loss with a decline of 10,200 due to sizeable losses particularly in federal government employment.

Nevada’s November 2020 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in Nevada is up 9,200 jobs during the month of November, but it's still down by 109,500 jobs over the past 12 months — a large gap that continues closing very slowly. The state’s November unemployment rate stands at 10.1 percent, down from a “readjusted” 11.9 percent in October but up from 3.7 percent compared to November of last year.

As the state added jobs for the seventh consecutive month in November, Nevada’s labor market continued shifting from a rapid policy-driven rebound to a more traditional recovery:

  • Total employment has regained 63 percent of the 287,300 jobs lost from February to April of 2020 (recovering 179,600 jobs so far), and the unemployment rate has fallen sharply since it reached a record high of 30 percent earlier this year. Total employment is now at 1.32 million jobs (versus 1.43 million jobs pre-pandemic).
  • After a strong initial recovery when a large number of businesses were simultaneously able to reopen, the state has moved into a slower phase of recovery that depends largely on individual responses to COVID-19 in the short term.
  • Of particular note in November was the non-durable goods manufacturing industry, which rose to an all-time record high. Also, the full-service restaurant industry has now returned to pre-COVID job levels.
  • Retail and wholesale trade saw stronger increases in employment than normal seasonal patterns, while accommodation saw sharper declines than usual.
  • Trade, transportation and utilities added the most jobs (4,900) over the month. Management of companies and enterprises (-20.1 percent) and educational services (-16.2 percent) are down the most since the same period last year.

The state’s continuing unemployment insurance claims in early December — which represent the current outstanding number of insured unemployed workers filing weekly for insurance benefits — increased for the first time in 16 weeks to 85,680, a rise of 1,317 claims (or 1.6 percent) from the previous week (84,633). It’s the first increase in “regular continued claims” since Aug. 8.

December: CA and NV ‘Household Pulse Survey’
Survey results from Dec. 7 show that the percentage of adults in California who expected someone in their household to experience a loss in employment income over the next four weeks was 39 percent, increasing from 29 percent the month prior (but ranging between 42 – 46 percent from April to July of 2020).

Nevada’s Dec. 7 household response came in at 45 percent, increasing from 34 percent the month prior (but ranging between 40 – 48 percent from April to July of 2020).

The weekly data is from the U.S. Census “Household Pulse Survey.” Although the survey is highly subjective to workers’ immediate feelings and emotions about their ties to the job market and labor force participation, its movement gives context into where the economy and local job markets may be headed.

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