CA and NV Jobs Data: Slow Winter Poised to Turn Up in Spring

Job applicant

Both California and Nevada’s job markets continued reversing course in January as they were slowly recovering. Individuals have been leaving the labor force (pool of candidates willing and able to work) for many weeks.

However, that’s poised to drastically change going into the spring. While both states’ economies have recuperated differently from the COVID-19 recession last year, their pace of labor markets were just trudging along in autumn and winter. Today, some employment growth momentum is finally beginning to take hold.

“The California and Nevada economies should see slight growth in jobs in the February numbers released next month — and then March should be even more dramatic, with slow-steady growth into summer,” said Robert Eyler, economist at Sonoma State University and board member for Redwood CU. “If social restrictions are lifted over the next three months more completely, and if ‘normal’ spring and summer travel takes place, we may see more strong jobs gains come July and August.”

He added that by September 2021, society will know the effects of recent congressional fiscal stimulus/relief dollars and COVID-19 vaccine efficacy on both states' economies. This will help experts better understand where growth is potentially headed from 2022 – 2024.

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

California’s January 2021 Employment Numbers
The California report shows the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in January 2021 (from a “readjusted” 9.3 percent in December). However, meanwhile employers shed -69,900 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in January:

  • The dual combination of employers shedding jobs and a decline in the unemployment rate means that either: 1) the labor force (pool of candidates willing and able to work) declined; or 2) more “gig” workers are back working again as opposed to payroll employees; or 3) a combination of both.
  • California has now regained 39 percent (or 1.05 million jobs) of the approximate 2.7 million jobs lost during March and April of 2020.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total nearly 15.9 million.
  • However, the total number of Californians holding jobs (non-farm payroll, agriculture related, independent contractor/freelancers) was nearly 17 million, which is down 1.62 million from the combined “total” employment this time last year.
  • Non-farm payroll jobs (a subset of “total” jobs) decreased by 1.75 million (-10 percent) from January 2020 to January 2021 compared to a U.S. annual loss of -6.3 percent.
  • Six of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in January (sometimes highly affected by seasonality). Trade/transportation and utilities (13,700) experienced the largest monthly increase thanks to gains in retail trade.
  • Leisure and hospitality (-70,600) saw the largest decrease in January due to losses in accommodation/food services.

Nevada’s January 2021 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in Nevada is up 7,400 jobs in January 2021, but it's still down by 156,100 jobs over the past 12 months (compared to January 2020) — a large gap that continues closing very slowly.

The state’s January unemployment rate stands at 8.1 percent, down from a “readjusted” 8.2 percent in December but up from 3.6 percent compared to January of last year. The state added jobs for the ninth consecutive month in January:

  • Las Vegas employment decreased by -100 jobs (-0.01 percent) over the month; or -147,000 jobs (-14 percent) since January 2020.
  • Reno/Sparks regional employment increased 2,700 jobs (1.1 percent) since December; but decreased -7,300 jobs (-2.9 percent) since January 2020.
  • Carson City employment increased 500 jobs (1.7 percent) since December; but decreased -700 jobs (-2.3 percent) since January 2020.
  • In January, state government experienced the most rapid growth due to a rebound in state educational services (typically employment at public universities and community colleges).
  • Meanwhile, the leisure and hospitality industry continues to see significant disruption due to COVID-19, with almost two-thirds of the net job loss over the past year concentrated in these businesses.
  • Nevada’s January unemployment rate declined slightly from December’s revised level, but it remains elevated and reflects a large number of workers not being counted in the state’s labor force (pool of candidates willing and able to work) since they have left the labor force (hopefully only temporarily but time will tell).

March: CA and NV ‘Household Pulse Survey’
Survey results from March 1 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 24 percent, decreasing from 33 percent the month prior (and ranging between 42 – 46 percent from April to July of 2020).

Nevada’s March 1 household response came in at 28 percent, decreasing from 32 percent the month prior (and ranging between 40 – 48 percent from April to July of 2020).

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.

Pin It