CA and NV Job Markets Trudge Forward Slightly Faster

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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 August figures released this week by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the Nevada Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Department (DETR):

California’s August 2021 Employment Numbers
The California report shows the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent in August 2021 (down from a “readjusted” 7.6 percent in July 2021). After 15 months, this unemployment rate is down from its 16 percent peak in April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession hit the economy.

Employers added 104,300 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in August:

  • California’s labor force (pool of individuals willing and able to work) shot up by 316,100 in August 2021 from a year ago and now sits at nearly 19 million. However, it still remains about -400,000 below its pre-pandemic level in February 2020 of 19.4 million.
  • California has now regained 62 percent (1.69 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 17.55 million, which is up 1.19 million from the combined “total” employment this time last year.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total more than 16.6 million. These jobs (a subset of “total” jobs) increased by 874,300 (5.5 percent) from August 2020 to August 2021 compared to a U.S. annual gain of 4.3 percent. Essentially, the state’s year-over-year pace of job growth has more than caught up to the nation’s annualized pace in the post-pandemic jobs recovery era, although it took 15 months (May 2020 – July 2021).
  • Nine of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in August.
  • Government (+46,900) experienced the state’s largest month-over gain driven by hiring in local government education as a new school year begins and public schools reopen.
  • Professional and business services (+14,000) performed well as its professional, scientific and technical services subsector has now regained all jobs it lost since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020.
  • Educational and health services (-6,300) saw the largest month-over job reduction due to a large decrease in health services.

Nevada’s August 2021 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in the state is up 11,900 jobs in August 2021, but still down by -100,900 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 August 2021 unemployment rate stands at 7.7 percent, remaining the same from a “readjusted” 7.7 percent in July — but still up from 3.7 percent in February of 2020 (pre-pandemic economy). The state’s total number of jobs is up 103,300 from August 2020 to August 2021 (an 8 percent increase), with total employment now standing at nearly 1.35 million.

The state added jobs for the 16th consecutive month in August:

  • Las Vegas employment increased by 7,000 jobs (0.7 percent) from July 2021 (month before) and by 78,700 jobs (9 percent) since August 2020.
  • Reno/Sparks regional employment increased by 900 jobs (0.4 percent) from July 2021 (month before) and by 13,600 jobs (5.8 percent) since August 2020.
  • Carson City employment increased by 300 jobs (1 percent) from July 2021 (month before) and by 1,300 jobs (4.4 percent) since August 2020.
  • The 11,900 jobs added statewide in August is near the high end of the COVID-19 economic recovery period (summer 2020 to summer 2021), rebounding from a slower pace in July.
  • The leisure and hospitality industry added the most jobs in August (3,900 positions).
  • The state’s 7.7 percent unemployment rate will likely remain one of the highest in the nation and reflects the long road ahead to a complete recovery in Nevada’s labor market.

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