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CA’s Job Market Steady; More Nevadans Looking for Work

California’s job market grew steadily in August 2023, although its labor force (those willing and able to work) is still -192,000 below the state’s pre-pandemic level in early 2020. Meanwhile, Nevada’s job base kept growing as total non-farm employment stood at 1.56 million workers — although more residents are looking for work today compared to eight months ago.

The following are the latest year-over-year and month-over August 2023 trends published recently by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the Nevada Employment Training and Rehabilitation Department (DETR):

California’s August 2023 Employment Numbers
The California report shows the state’s unemployment rate remained at 4.6 percent in August 2023 (from a “readjusted” 4.6 percent in the month prior). For context, the state’s unemployment rate hit 16.1 percent at one point during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

California employers added 23,100 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in August 2023:

  • California’s labor force (pool of individuals willing and able to work) increased by 191,100 in August 2023 from one year before, but it declined -18,000 workers from the month before — and now sits at just over 19.4 million. It also remains approximately -192,000 below its pre-pandemic level in February 2020 of nearly 19.6 million.
  • The total number of Californians holding jobs (non-farm payroll, agriculture related, independent contractor/freelancers) was more than 18.5 million, which is up 19,800 from the combined total employment level this time last year.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total more than 18.1 million. These jobs (a subset of “total” jobs) increased by 335,200 (1.9 percent) from August 2022 to August 2023 compared to a U.S. annual gain of 2 percent.
  • Seven of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in August, with private education and health services (14,000) leading the way — thanks to strength in individual and family services, as well as increases in private colleges, universities, and professional schools.
  • Government (5,200) also showed good gains, thanks largely to increases in local government educational services.
  • Most of the losses in Information (-9,000) came in motion picture and sound recording, impacted at least in part by the writers and actors’ strikes. Additional losses came from computing infrastructure providers, data processing, web hosting, and related services.

Nevada’s August 2023 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in the state was up 9,800 jobs in August 2023 (month-over change) and 54,300 jobs from a year ago (3.6 percent annual increase) — which displays non-farm payroll company/organization activity.

Total non-farm Nevada employment — which includes non-farm payroll, agriculture related, and independent contractor/freelance jobs altogether — stood at more than 1.56 million individuals in August 2023. (When it comes to payroll employment specifically, June 2022 was the first month Nevada’s job market finally closed the gap inflicted since the COVID-19 recession in 2020.)

Nevada’s August 2023 unemployment rate stood at 5.4 percent (from a “readjusted” and unchanged 5.3 percent the month before), which is up from 3.7 percent in February of 2020 (pre-pandemic economy). For context, the state’s unemployment rate hit 28.2 percent at one point during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

At the local/regional level, Nevada’s non-farm company payroll employers added, subtracted, or experienced the following trends in August 2023:

  • Las Vegas-area employment increased 0.8 percent (8,500 jobs) in August 2023 from the month before and by 44,000 jobs (4 percent) since August 2022.
  • Reno/Sparks-area employment increased 0.4 percent (1,200 jobs) in August 2023 from the month before and by 8,900 jobs (3.4 percent) since August 2022.
  • Carson City-area employment increased 0.3 percent (100 jobs) in August 2023 from the month before and by 1,400 jobs (4.5 percent) since August 2022.
  • The labor force (pool of individuals who are willing and able to work) in the state grew by 6,000, with August marking the eight consecutive month the state has experienced an increase in this pool of individuals.

Ongoing Labor Market Perspective
These California and Nevada job market recoveries don’t account for lost ground and opportunity costs coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically in California, the state’s labor force — the pool of individuals willing and able to work — shrunk drastically due to public health restrictions and concerns, policy and employer decisions, the volatile business environment, federal and state financial relief, and worker fluidity in a tight labor market.

Essentially, both California and Nevada job markets may have been even more robust by August 2023 if COVID-19 never impacted the economy and policy decisions, assuming no other negative financial or economic events transpired.

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