CA Job Market Has Recovered 91.5% as NV Reaches 99.5%

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More than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic recession devastated the economy, total non-farm employment in California has recovered 91.5 percent of jobs lost in the labor market, and Nevada has crawled back 99.5 percent. However, these recoveries don’t account for lost ground and opportunity costs coming out of the pandemic.

The labor force — the pool of individuals willing and able to work — has shrunk due to public health restrictions and concerns, policy and employer decisions, the volatile business environment, federal and state financial relief, and worker fluidity in a tight labor market. State job markets may have been even more robust by 2022 if COVID-19 never impacted the economy and policy decisions, assuming no other negative financial or economic events transpired.

The following are the latest year-over-year and monthly April figures recently released in mid-May by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the Nevada Employment Training and Rehabilitation Department (DETR):

California’s April 2022 Employment Numbers
The California report shows the state’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in April 2022 (from a “readjusted” 4.8 percent in March 2022). After 24 months, this unemployment rate is down from its 16.1 percent peak in May 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession hit the economy.

California employers added 41,400 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in April:

  • California’s labor force (pool of individuals willing and able to work) shot up by 355,000 in April 2022 from a year ago and now sits at more than 19.2 million. However, it still remains approximately -160,000 below its pre-pandemic level in February 2020 of nearly 19.4 million.
  • California has now regained more than 91 percent (2.52 million jobs) of the approximate 2.76 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 18.35 million, which is up nearly 1.04 million from the combined total employment this time last year.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total 17.45 million. These jobs (a subset of “total” jobs) increased by 925,200 (5.6 percent) from April 2021 to April 2022 compared to a U.S. annual gain of 4.6 percent. While the state’s year-over-year pace of job growth has more than caught up to the nation’s, California’s outstanding total number of jobs/employment is still playing catch-up in relative comparison to the United States.
  • Eight of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs, with leisure and hospitality (+20,100) posting the largest increase for the third month in a row. Growth in full-service restaurants was the largest contributor toward this gain.
  • Information (+2,200) has now regained all job losses the sector had sustained due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The large reduction in construction (-13,200) reflects losses in building foundation and exterior contractors and building finishing contractors, which were impacted by rain in April.

Nevada’s April 2022 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in the state is up 5,200 jobs in April 2022 and 107,100 jobs from a year ago (an 8 percent annual increase).

Nevada’s labor market gap since the COVID-19 recession two years ago has almost nearly closed, now down only approximately -4,800 jobs. It’s an increasingly positive trend that slowly continues as individuals re-enter (and also leave) the labor force (pool of people saying they are willing and able to work). In fact, private-sector payroll employment surpassed its pre-pandemic peak last month.

Nevada’s April 2022 unemployment rate stands at 5 percent, unchanged from a “readjusted” 5 percent in March — but still up from 3.7 percent in February of 2020 (pre-pandemic economy). At one point during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the state’s unemployment rate hit 28.2 percent.

Total non-farm employment (payroll and independent jobs combined) currently stands at nearly 1.45 million individuals employed/jobs filled — approximately 99.5 percent recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic employment fallout of 2020.

Overall, Nevada employers added jobs for the 24th consecutive month in April 2022:

  • Las Vegas-area employment increased by 0.2 percent from March to April 2022 (month before) and by 81,700 jobs (8.5 percent) since April 2021.
  • Reno/Sparks-area employment increased by 0.3 percent from March to April 2022 (month before) and by 9,800 jobs (4 percent) since April 2021.
  • Carson City-area employment increased by 1 percent from March to April 2022 (month before) and by 1,300 jobs (4.3 percent) since April 2021.

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