In April 2013, California’s employment grew at an annual rate of 1.9%, outpacing the U.S. growth rate of 1.6%. The state’s annual employment growth has been higher than the national rate for the past 13 months. California added 273,100 jobs over the year, second only to Texas. The accommodation and food services and construction sectors posted the largest gains, adding 48,300 and 44,800 jobs respectively; the manufacturing sector posted the largest annual decrease on a numerical basis (-10,500). On a percentage basis, the state’s job growth ranked eighth among the 28 states with statistically significant employment changes in April 2013. But among neighboring and similar-size states, California employment grew faster than all except Texas and Nevada.
Historically, California’s employment growth rate followed the national rate very closely, until the Great Recession hit the state hard. Today, California’s employment growth is faster than the nation’s.
California’s unemployment rate was 9% in April 2013, down 1.7 points from last year but still almost double its 2007 pre-recession low. California has the fourth-highest unemployment rate, below only Nevada, Illinois, and Mississippi.
California’s unemployment rate has been consistently above the national average since 1990. It is currently 1.5 percentage points higher than the national rate of 7.5%.
In April 2013, unemployment rates ranged from a low of 4.6% in Marin County to a high of 24% in Imperial County. Three Bay Area counties—Marin, San Mateo, and San Francisco—have unemployment rates at or below 5.5%, the lowest in the state.
Many counties in the San Joaquin Valley and the Northern Sacramento Valley region have among the highest unemployment rates in the state (both regions average 13.3%).