June 22, 2020
California’s unemployment rate experienced a minimal drop to 16.3% in May as the state’s employers added 141,600 jobs, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department (EDD). The latest numbers come after rapidly-evolving data prompted a statistical revision to a larger than initially estimated April job loss of 2,415,000 and an upward-revised unemployment rate of 16.4%.
Previously, EDD said April’s rate was 15.5% and the revised number represents nearly 170,000 more people out of work in April than initially reported. April’s revisions reflect unprecedented job losses never before seen in California’s history in a current data series that dates back to 1976 that are a direct result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the state’s unemployment rate of 16.31% is slightly lower than the record high set in April 2020, it is still far higher than the 12.3 percent it was at during the height of the Great Recession (March, October, and November 2010). April’s revised loss of 2.4 million jobs in California since March is the biggest month-over job loss in state history, far eclipsing the Great Recession’s then record-setting, month-over loss of 132,800 jobs between December 2008 and January 2009.
Nine of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in May. Construction posted the largest job gain (+75,000) due to strength in specialty trade contractors and ongoing construction projects. Leisure and hospitality (+64,800) had the second largest job gain due to growth in accommodation and food services. Government (-95,800) had the largest drop with state and local government jobs both experiencing large decreases over the month.
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