California’s Unemployment Rate

By Mario Conde

New numbers released last week by the State of California show the unemployment rate decreased to 11.9 percent in April, and nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 8,900 during the month, according to data released by the California Employment Development Department from two separate surveys.

In March, the state’s unemployment rate was 12.0 percent, and in April 2010, the unemployment rate was 12.4 percent. The unemployment rate is derived from a federal survey of 5,500 California households.

The EDD reports also shows that nonfarm jobs in California totaled 14,054,900 in April, an increase of 8,900 jobs over the month, according to a survey of businesses that is larger and less variable statistically. The survey of 42,000 California businesses measures jobs in the economy. The year-over-year change (April 2010 to April 2011) shows an increase of 144,400 jobs (up 1.0 percent).

Imperial County, however, lost over 1,300 jobs thanks to the end of the agricultural season here in the Valley. Imperial County, where the unemployment rate was 27.9% in April, created only 200 new positions in the last year.

The number of people unemployed in California was 2,143,000 – down by 33,000 over the month, and down by 111,000 compared with April of last year.

Eight industry divisions (mining and logging; construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; professional and business services; educational and health services; and leisure and hospitality) posted job gains over the year, adding 210,300 jobs.

Professional and business services posted the largest gain on a numerical basis, adding 58,800 jobs (up 2.9 percent). Information posted the largest gain on a percentage basis, up by 7.0 percent (an increase of 29,200 jobs).