CA Employment Hits Pandemic Milestone; NV Rises Only Slightly


New data shows that although California and Nevada’s respective job markets made noticeable headway in October, they continue their slow and steady recoveries as local economies across both states recuperate differently from the COVID-19 pandemic recession earlier this year.

The following are the latest October figures released this week by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the Nevada Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Department (DETR):

California’s October 2020 Employment Numbers
The California report shows the state’s unemployment rate falling to 9.3 percent in October (from 11.1 percent in September). Employers added 145,000 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in October:

  • California has now regained 44 percent (or 1.15 million jobs) of the approximate 2.62 million jobs lost during March and April of 2020.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total more than 16.1 million. However, the total number of Californians holding jobs (both non-farm and agriculture related) was nearly 17.5 million — down 1.24 million from the combined “total” employment this time last year.
  • Total non-farm jobs decreased by 1.37 million (7.8 percent) from October 2019 to October 2020 compared to a U.S. annual loss of 6.1 percent.
  • Nine of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs last month. Leisure/hospitality (66,000 positions) saw the largest job gains for the second consecutive month thanks to large growth in the sub-categories of accommodation, food services, and arts-entertainment-recreation. Professional and business services posted an increase of 35,800 jobs, which was boosted by gains in professional-scientific-technical services.
  • Government posted the largest industry job losses with a decline of -41,100 in October due to cuts in the federal government sub-category (largely stemming from reductions in U.S. Census workers).

Nevada’s October 2020 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in Nevada is up 3,600 jobs over the month of October, but it's still down by 117,200 jobs over the past 12 months — a large gap that continues closing very slowly. The state’s October unemployment rate stands at 12 percent, down from 12.5 percent in September but up from 3.7 percent compared to October of last year.

The state added jobs for the sixth straight month in October. Nevada’s labor market continues to shift from a rapid policy-driven rebound to a more traditional recovery:

  • Total employment has regained 58 percent of the 287,300 jobs lost from February to April (or 166,600 jobs), and the unemployment rate has fallen sharply since it reached a record high of 30 percent earlier this year. Total employment is now at 1.305 million jobs.
  • After a strong initial recovery when a large number of businesses were simultaneously able to reopen, the state has moved into a slower phase of recovery that depends largely on individual responses to COVID-19 in the short term.
  • The construction sector added the most jobs (2,300) over October.
  • Management of companies and enterprises (-22 percent) and educational services (-21 percent) are down the most since the same period last year.

The state’s continuing unemployment insurance claims — which represent the current outstanding number of insured unemployed workers filing weekly for insurance benefits — fell for the 13th consecutive week in early November to 105,600, a decline of 8,150 claims (or 7.1 percent) from the previous week (114,100). This is the fewest continuing claims since March 28 when there were 58,800 claims filed.

CA and NV in ‘Household Pulse Survey’
Survey results from Oct. 30 show that the percentage of adults in California who expected someone in their household to experience a loss in employment income over the next four weeks was 29 percent — the lowest it’s ever been since the COVID-19 pandemic fueled a deep recession earlier this year (and down from 33 percent in the prior month). This percentage in California ranged from 42 – 46 percent from April to July.

Nevada’s Oct. 30 household response came in at 34 percent, unfortunately rising from 30 percent the month prior (but ranged from 40 – 48 percent from April to July).

The weekly data is from the U.S. Census “Household Pulse Survey.” Although the survey is highly subjective to workers’ immediate feelings and emotions about their ties to the job market and labor force participation, its movement gives context into where the economy and local job markets may be headed.

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