California’s job growth triples that of the country
California last month added jobs at three times the nation’s rate, as teachers returned to classrooms, entertainment venues reopened, and vacationers traveled despite an increase in COVID infections. 19.
Salaried jobs in the state increased by 104,300 in August to a total of 16.63 million, accounting for 44% of job growth in the United States, officials reported. At 0.6%, California’s monthly job growth was triple the national pace of 0.2%.
The nation’s employment recovery was surprisingly slow last month, as vaccination rates in many states lagged behind those in California.
As of this week, two-thirds of California’s population have been at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19. Nonetheless, with the Delta variant of the coronavirus continuing to spread and vaccine resistance persisting, the state’s recovery could remain uneven, economists said.
“The California economy now faces greater concerns about the Delta variant than in the second week of August, when the employment data was collected,” said Lynn Reaser, an economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. “The impact of reopening schools on infection rates and weakening consumer confidence could weigh on the short-term economic outlook.”
Last month, the Golden State had recovered just 62% of the 2.7 million jobs lost in March and April 2020, when the pandemic took hold.
The state’s unemployment rate remains high at 7.5%, down slightly from 7.6% in July but down significantly from 12.3% a year earlier. Nationally, unemployment in August stood at 5.2%.
In California, “another large-scale economic shutdown is highly unlikely, but future economic growth could slow as long as the new virus remains a serious concern,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Loyola Marymount University. “The cloud cover has not disappeared.”
Public schools accounted for 46,900 jobs last month, nearly 45% of California’s net job growth. “It’s probably a one-time gain that won’t be repeated,” said Scott Anderson, an economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco.
Apart from leisure and hospitality companies, which have created 33,100 jobs, hiring in other sectors has been “quite anemic”, he said. “Supply chain bottlenecks, port backlogs and COVID fears are increasingly weighing on California’s economic outlook.”
Business travel and tourism, mainstays of California’s economy, dried up from March 2020. But this year, domestic leisure travel has picked up, sports venues have reopened and jobs have started to return. .
By mid-year, about half of the 30,000 members of Unite Here Local 11, one of Southern California’s largest unions, had returned to work in hotels, stadiums, airport concessions and transportation centers. Congress.
“We felt relatively positive before the Delta surge,” said Kurt Petersen, union co-chair. “But Delta pulled us back, due to a group of stubborn people refusing to get the shot.”
Convention centers remain dark, corporate groups are canceling reservations, international travel is virtually non-existent and tourism is not expected to fully rebound for two years, he said. “Large swaths of workers have not worked at all since March 2020, and two-thirds of our members who have returned to work have fewer hours than before the pandemic.”
Many hotel chains have removed automatic daily room cleaning services, so housekeepers work three days instead of five, Petersen said. “They can’t survive on this. And the work is harder, because a room that has not been cleaned for days is often a pigsty.
The recovery is expected to remain uneven. Professionals and tech workers who can operate from home have kept their jobs, as have workers classified as essential, such as grocery clerks and warehouse packers.
Although many employers report difficulty filling vacancies, the California workforce grew by 55,300 workers in August and 316,100 from the previous year.
Before the program expired earlier this month, some 2.2 million Californians were receiving $ 300 a week in supplement from the federal government to state unemployment insurance. A federal program offering unemployment benefits to independent contractors who are not covered by state Employment Insurance, such as Uber and DoorDash drivers, has also ended.
Some employers predict that the expiration of federal unemployment benefits could soon put more people back into the workforce despite fears of viruses, lack of child care, low wages, or other factors that have kept them at work. the House.
Servicon, a Culver City company that cleans hospitals, aerospace factories and office buildings in Southern California, has added 400 janitors since the start of the pandemic, bringing its total workforce to 2,000.
“The economy is lurching, but we are in demand,” Servicon chairman Michael Mahdesian said. “After years of being told to be invisible, customers now want us to disinfect and clean. They want to give their employees confidence that buildings are healthy.
Mahdesian is concerned about the short-term effects of the Delta variant. “It slows down the recovery,” he said. “But California is better off than other states at getting people vaccinated. States like Texas and Florida are a mess.
He applauds President Biden’s pressure to get healthcare workers, government contractors and workers in big business getting vaccinated. And he expects Congress to pass infrastructure bills that will send billions of dollars to California and other states. “So I am optimistic for the future,” he said.
Taner Osman, research director at Los Angeles consulting firm Beacon Economics, is also optimistic. Since August, “two major headwinds for the state’s economy have abated: the decline in the spread of COVID-19 cases and the reopening of schools,” he said. “This paves the way for solid job gains through the end of this year.”
After public schools and leisure and hospitality businesses, the highest job gains in August in California were in professional and business services (up 14,000) and “other services” (in up 8,400), a diverse group that includes auto repair businesses and beauty salons.
The largest losses were in health care and social assistance (down 8,500) and state government (down 5,700).
The August jobs report reflected the usual division between the tech economy of northern California, the agriculture-dependent economy of the Central Valley, and the service-dependent economy of southern California.
Unemployment was low in San Mateo County (4.6%), Santa Clara County (4.8%) and San Francisco County (5%). Unemployment in several interior regions was well above average: Kern County (10%), Tulare County (10.5%) and Imperial County (19.4%).
Los Angeles County created 55,700 jobs in August, for a total of 4.25 million. More than two thirds were in public education. Jobs in film and sound recording increased by 6,000, reflecting a return to production by film and television studios. The county’s unemployment rate fell to 9.7% from 10.2% in July.
Orange County’s payroll increased from $ 7,200 million to $ 1.59 million, with public schools accounting for the full increase. Unemployment fell to 6% from 6.3% in July.
In the Inland Empire, encompassing the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside, employment increased by 5,500 jobs to 1.52 million. Unemployment stood at 7.6%, up from 7.9% in July.
State data comes from a federal survey of 80,000 California businesses. The unemployment rate is taken from a separate survey of 5,100 California households.