In October 2013, California employment grew at an annual rate of 1.4%, This was the lowest rate since December 2011, and lower than the 1.7% employment growth in the nation as a whole. California added 207,300 jobs over the year, second only to Texas. The largest increase was in the accommodation and food services sector, which gained 61,600 jobs. Almost all sectors added jobs; the exceptions were manufacturing and government, which posted annual decreases (-5,800 and -3,300 respectively). In terms of annual percentages, the state’s job growth ranked 22nd among the 29 states with statistically significant employment changes in October 2013. California’s employment growth fell behind that of neighboring and similar-size states (except New York).
California’s employment growth rate followed the national rate very closely until the Great Recession hit the state hard. For most of the last three years the state’s annual employment growth has been higher than the national rate. However, October marks the fifth month in a row where employment growth has been faster in the nation as a whole than in California—a sign that we may be returning to the long-term trend.
California’s unemployment rate was 8.7% in September and October, down from the 8.9% rate registered in August. The state’s unemployment rate is lower now than it has been in about five years, and it is down 1.4 points from last year. But it is still 3.9 points higher than its pre-recession low. California’s jobless rate is the sixth highest in the nation.
California’s unemployment rate has been consistently above the national average since 1990. The gap between the nation’s and California’s unemployment rate widened significantly during the recession, but over the past year it began to narrow. California’s unemployment rate is currently 1.4 percentage points higher than the national rate of 7.3%.
In October 2013, unemployment rates ranged from a low of 4.8% in Marin County to a high of 25.2% in Imperial County. Four Bay Area counties—Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Napa— plus Orange County have unemployment rates at or below 6%.
Unemployment remains high in some parts of California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley, where the unemployment rate averages 11.6%.