This morning the California Employment Development Department released it latest labor market information data. The data shows improvement in the Golden State’s labor market with the seasonally adjusted unemployment dropping to 7.6 percent, a level last seen in August 2008.

The data also contained small improvements in the labor force as 4,600 Californians entered the labor force. Total state employment rose 39,800 to 17.2 million and unemployment fell by 35,200 to a total of 1.42 million.

Unemployment insurance claims dropped 51,000 to 228,860.

The biggest gains were seen in leisure and hospitality (+10,300), professional and business services (+8,900), and education (+6,900). The biggest losers for this months labor market report were manufacturing (-6,800), trade and transportation (-2,900), and financial services (-1,600).

Check out the charts below for more a more historical look at the condition of California’s major industries. All source data is from the California EDD labor market database.


The uneven recovery across California’s counties continue with Bay Area and Southern California coastal counties recovering much faster than Inland counties. Lowest unemployment rates are seen in Marin (3.8%), San Mateo (4.1%), and San Francisco (4.4%). The counties fairing the worst continues to be Imperial (21.1%), Colusa (15.6%), and Sutter (14.0%).


Construction saw a small gain in May with an additional 200 jobs. The medium-term trend continue to be positive for this sector however it is far from recovering all the jobs lost in the Great Recession. The construction industry reports 671,900 jobs which is a stark difference from the pre-recession high of 945,100.


Employment in durable goods manufacturing continues to be stagnant since the end of the recession. Durable goods manufacturing was one of the big losers of today’s jobs report with a reported loss of 2,200 jobs with total sector employment holding steady at 783,500. Durable goods manufacturing peaked in December 2000 with a total of 1.2 million jobs. It’s hard to see manufacturing in California making a huge comeback and returning to its early 2000’s peak.


If the durable good manufacturing numbers got you depressed, then you really should avoid looking at the non-durable goods data. This sector continues to see downward trends with a big losses in May of 4,600 jobs. Looking at the historical chart below, you’ll see there has been significantly more bad news for this sector than good news since January 2000.


The information sector saw a small loss of 600 jobs, but continues to have a positive recovery since the end of the recession. The 462,200 jobs reported in information sector is the highest its been since December 2008.


The finance and insurance sector is not experiencing much of a recovery with losses reported in 8 of the last 12 months. 3,000 finance and insurance jobs were gone in May. It appears the finance and insurance gods hit a switch in May 2006 because the sector has been experiencing downward trends every since.


Real estate, rental, and leasing continues to show strong gains since the end of the recession, but far from from what the sector experienced during the housing bubble. The growth in this sector is likely related to growing consumer confidence and housing purchases as consumers appear to be looking to the housing market again.


The growth in professional, scientific, and technical services sector is the first real positive sector numbers CalWonk can find in the EDD data. Not only has this sector regained all of its recession losses but it continues to grow at a strong clip. Comparing this services chart to the manufacturing charts above, one can really witness the historical shift in California job market from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy. This sector reported an additional 3,800 jobs in May for a total of 1,179,800 surpassing the pre-recession high of 1,085,700.


Educational services continues its upward trend and appears to be one of the rare sectors that was not affected much by the recession. Despite reporting a loss of 4,300 jobs in May, it is likely this sector will keep on growing.


Retail trade reported a loss in May of 3,800 jobs, but continues to see gains coming out of the recession. Current retail employment figures were last seen in September of 2008 before the industry was really affected by the downturn. We will keep watching this sector to see if rising consumer confidence equals more retail hiring.


Transportation, warehousing, and utilities has seen a full recovery with the May report showing the sector returning to its pre-recession high.


Like professional services, the arts, entertainment, and leisure sector has seen a full recovery plus some. The leisure industry growth trend likely signals increased tourism and/or growing consumer confidence. Essentially folks are spending money on leisure, which is great for this industry.


Despite the hand-wringing from elected officials, California’s logging and mining sector are not suffering from any great loss. In fact EDD data shows this sector is experiencing a historical peak. We have not been hearing a whole lot of news about increased logging so its safe to say mining, likely natural gas and petroleum extraction, are the real drivers behind this growth.


Wholesale trade is nearly back to its pre-recession high and is trending higher coming out of the downturn. It saw strong growth over the last 12 months, however the previous three reports (March, April, May) all saw losses. We will continue to watch this trend to see if losses continue or if the sector turns it around.  Wholesale peaked in December 2007 at 722,800 and stands at 707,800 as of the May report.


Do not let this chart fool you! it appears this management sector is having a tough time and that might be true if you compare it to where the sector was in 2000. However, EDD data shows consistent gains in this sector since April 2010. Last time this sector hit 223,900 was in 2005. They have recovered from the recession and added jobs to this sector.


Administrative and support sector jobs have seen a full recovering from the recession. The sector has not only surpassed its pre-recession high, but also the high it experienced in 2000.


Accommodation and food services has really blown away its pre-downturn peak and continues to see pretty dramatic growth. This sector reported 11,900 and 4,800 in April and May, respectively.


If there was ever an industry sector that never experienced the Great Recession it was health care and social assistance. The sector only experienced minor losses during the worst of the recession. Since the recovery began, it really has been off to the races.


Not much to say about this one. Other services EDD lumps together into one sector has regained all its pre-recession jobs and added some.


One of the slowest recovering  sectors is in government employment. Since the end of the Census in May 10, federal government employment has seen a steady decline (Sequestration, anyone?).  This is the lowest federal employment has been in the Golden State since before EDD started keeping track in 1990.


State government employment is nearly back to its pre-recession high of 495,900. May EDD data shows state government employment 492,300. The gains and losses are pretty bumpy month to month but overall it is trending positive.


There is one last public sector indicator that really shows the recovery is much stronger in the private sector than in federal, state, or local service. Local government employment has essentially not recovered from the recession. The sector’s historical data shows significantly more losses than gains since the recession. Barring another downturn, it may be the end of the decade or more until local government returns to its pre-recession high of 1.78 million.

CA’s May Employment Numbers in 23 Charts
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