California’s economic growth once again showed strength and resilience in July, adding 36,400 new jobs according to the state Employment Development Department’s latest jobs report. The numbers are in line with average monthly gains of 37,800 over the past year and are better than any other state in the U.S.
The state’s annual 2.3 percent growth rate in July outpaced the national growth rate of 1.7 percent. The unemployment rate increased slightly, but the uptick was driven by California’s expanding labor force, which added 60,100 new labor entrants.
The construction industry led California for year-over-year job gains in July, posting 4.0 percent growth. Employment growth topped 3 percent in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and educational and health services sectors, with only the mining, logging, and manufacturing industries experiencing annual declines.
The Bay Area remains California’s job-growth leader, with substantial annual gains in Santa Rosa and Napa, where employment grew by 3.1 percent since last July according to the Palo Alto-based Center For Continuing Study of the California Economy. Oakland added 9,600 jobs over the past year, for an annual growth rate of 2.9 percent.
The technology sector also continued showing strength, with jobs in professional, scientific, and technical services expanding at some of the fastest rates. EDD data shows that the sector grew by 8.1 percent on an annual basis in San Francisco and San Mateo counties (13,900 jobs added); 4.6 percent in the San Jose metro area (6,500 jobs); and 3.0 percent in the Oakland metro area (2,800 jobs). The state added 50,100 jobs in the professional, scientific, and technical services sectors over the last year.
Central Valley metro areas also enjoyed robust year-over-year job gains, which CCSCE says may be the result of Bay Area workers living in and supporting job growth in the region. Stockton saw annual job growth of 4.1 percent, while employment grew by 3.5 percent in Modesto.
California’s unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in July but is still 0.7 percentage point lower than it was one year ago. CCSCE points out that summer job-growth patterns can be volatile due to varying school-start dates.
Here in the Bay Area, unemployment rates followed suit, increasing on a nonseasonally adjusted basis in eight of nine counties from June to July, with only Napa County holding steady at 4.2 percent. San Mateo County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3.4 percent, followed by Marin (3.6 percent), San Francisco (3.7 percent), Santa Clara (4.2 percent), and Sonoma (4.4 percent) counties. With an unemployment rate of 6.0 percent, Solano was the only Bay Area county where jobless claims exceeded the statewide rate.