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California's Employment Development Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released California's December 2018 state jobs report. Statewide nonfarm employment grew by an estimated 24,500 in December, very close to the 12-month average growth rate. The official unemployment rate ticked up to 4.2 percent, potentially a function of a large estimated increase in labor force participation. Because the labor force participation and household employment series used to derive the unemployment rate are very noisy on a month-to-month basis, it is too early to draw any conclusions about the increase in unemployment in December. Given the recent uptick in unemployment claims, however, it would be worrying if unemployment continues to increase in early 2019. The figure below summarizes nonfarm employment by sector based on the monthly survey of employers. Overall employment in the state has grown 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, very close to the nation’s 1.8 percent growth rate.


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