In its most recent monthly jobs report, the California Employment Development Department says that the state’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, unchanged from July. The national unemployment rate also held steady from the previous month at 4.9 percent.
California added 63,100 nonfarm positions in August compared with 36,400 in July. That makes August the busiest month so far this year for hiring and the second month that the state has added in excess of 60,000 new jobs.
As in July, the construction sector led California’s job growth in August, with an annual gain of 4.0 percent. The professional and business services sector, which includes many tech jobs, also posted solid year-over-year job growth of 3.6 percent, followed closely by the educational and health services and leisure and hospitality industries.
Those high-paying tech jobs are driving California and the Bay Area’s economy, with the San Jose metropolitan area posting the largest annual gross domestic product growth in the U.S. in 2015, at 8.9 percent. According to a recent analysis of the California economy by Pacific Union Chief Economist Selma Hepp, while many of nation’s tech epicenters are also its fastest-growing economies, the industry appears to have particularly benefited the Golden State’s economy, which is now the world’s sixth-largest.
A separate report on job creation called the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which captures data quarterly but is considered more accurate, showed tech-industry gains of 8.5 percent year over year in the first quarter. Monthly data referred to above, called Current Employment Statistics, showed a 3.4 percent increase for the same period.
Jobless claims dropped in all nine Bay Area counties from July to August on a nonseasonally adjusted basis and remain below 5 percent in every county except Solano, the only place in the Bay Area with a unemployment rate higher than the statewide average. San Mateo County has California’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3.2 percent, followed by San Francisco (3.5 percent), Marin (3.5 percent), Santa Clara (4.0 percent), Napa (4.1 percent), and Sonoma (4.1 percent) counties.
(Photo: Flickr/Lupita S-O’Brien)