In May 2014, California employment grew at an annual rate of 2.3%, the same rate as the previous month and 0.5 percentage points higher than the rate at which employment grew in the nation as a whole. California added 340,200 jobs over the year; this was the second-largest increase in the country (behind Texas). The biggest gains occurred in the health care and social assistance sector, which added 76,100 jobs. Two service sectors—administration and support, and professional, scientific, and technical services—followed, adding 45,900 and 43,100 jobs, respectively. Almost all sectors added jobs; the exceptions were finance and insurance, and manufacturing, which posted annual decreases (-14,600 and -7,700 jobs, respectively). In terms of annual percentages, the state’s job growth in May 2014 ranked 10th among the 31 states with statistically significant employment changes.
California’s employment growth rate tends to follow the national rate very closely. During the Great Recession, California lost jobs at a higher rate than the U.S., but during much of the recovery the state added jobs at a higher rate.
California’s unemployment rate was 7.6% in May 2014. This is 0.2 percentage points lower than in April. The state’s unemployment rate is lower now than it has been in almost six years; it is down 1.4 points from last year. But it is still 2.8 points higher than its pre-recession low. California’s jobless rate is the fifth 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 1.3 percentage points higher than the national rate of 6.3%.
In May 2014, unemployment rates ranged from a low of 3.8% in Marin County to a high of 21.1% in Imperial County. Four Bay Area counties—Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco and Napa—together with Orange County have unemployment rates below 5%.
Unemployment remains high in some parts of California—especially in the San Joaquin Valley and the Northern Sacramento Valley, where the unemployment rates average 10.9% and 10.3%, respectively.