CA and NV Job Markets Continued Slow Recovery in July

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California and Nevada experienced another month of slow and steady employment gains as both states’ labor markets continue cautiously treading forward under one of the most difficult job situations in modern history. Some businesses can’t find workers as a lack of individuals “willing and able” to work (the labor force) persists compared to pre-pandemic times.

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

California’s July 2021 Employment Numbers
The California report shows the state’s unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent in July 2021 (remaining the same from a “readjusted” 7.6 percent in June 2021). It is down from its 16 percent peak in April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession hit the economy.

Employers added 114,400 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in July:

  • California’s labor force (pool of individuals willing and able to work) shot up by 196,000 in July 2021 from a year ago and now sits at more than 18.9 million. However, it still remains about -470,000 below its pre-pandemic level in February 2020 of 19.4 million.
  • California has now regained 58 percent (1.58 million jobs) of the approximate 2.7 million jobs lost during March and April of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession transpired.
  • The total number of Californians holding jobs (non-farm payroll, agriculture related, independent contractor/freelancers) was nearly 17.5 million, which is up 1.23 million from the combined “total” employment this time last year.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total more than 16.5 million. These jobs (a subset of “total” jobs) increased by 864,400 (5.5 percent) from July 2020 to July 2021 compared to a U.S. annual gain of 5.2 percent. Essentially, the state’s year-over-year pace of job growth has finally caught up to the nation’s annualized pace in the post-pandemic jobs recovery era, although it took 15 months.
  • Nine of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in July. Leisure and hospitality (+56,600) continued to experience the state’s largest month-over increase for the sixth straight month thanks to significant increases in food services and drinking places.
  • Educational and health services (+10,400) also did well due to increased hiring in tele-health and cybersecurity within healthcare firms.
  • Manufacturing (-4,500) suffered the largest month-over job reduction due a large decrease in transportation equipment manufacturing.

Nevada’s July 2021 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in Nevada is up 4,800 jobs in July 2021, but it's still down by -112,800 jobs compared to April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession hit the economy. It’s a large gap continuing to close very slowly as individuals re-enter the labor force (pool of people saying they are willing and able to work).

The state’s July 2021 unemployment rate stands at 7.7 percent, down from a “readjusted” 7.8 percent in June but still up from 3.7 percent in February of 2020 (pre-pandemic economy). The state’s total number of jobs is up 100,900 from July 2020 to July 2021 (an 8 percent increase), with total employment now standing at nearly 1.34 million.

The state added jobs for the 15th consecutive month in July:

  • Las Vegas employment increased by 6,500 jobs (0.7 percent) from June 2021 (month before) and by 72,200 jobs (8 percent) since July 2020.
  • Reno/Sparks regional employment increased by 500 jobs (0.2 percent) from June 2021 (month before) and by 15,700 jobs (6.8 percent) since July 2020.
  • Carson City employment increased by 100 jobs (0.3 percent) from June 2021 (month before) and by 1,100 jobs (3.7 percent) since July 2020.
  • July’s data provides a better look at the pace of the job market recovery since the state fully relaxed business restrictions in June 2021. While some industries have exceeded their pre-recession peak employment, others remain significantly lower.
  • Most notably, the casino hotel industry remains down roughly -67,000 jobs from its pre-recession peak and is just 62 percent recovered; however, food services is 97 percent recovered and retail trade employment is 100 percent recovered.
  • While July data is positive, there is still significant disruption to the economy as businesses and the labor force seek to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

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