January 2015 California Job Growth. According to Employment Development Department (EDD) data released today (March 6), the number of seasonally-adjusted nonfarm payroll jobs in California grew by 67,300 in January 2015. Since January 2014, nonfarm payroll jobs in the state have increased by 3.2% (up 498,000 jobs), and since February 2010, nonfarm payrolls here have climbed by 1.8 million. In January 2015, newly updated federal data shows that the number of nonfarm payroll jobs nationwide grew by 239,000, which means that California's job growth of 67,300 during the month made up 28% of the entire U.S. total. By comparison, California's population makes up 12% of the U.S. total. In January, therefore, it was striking how much California job growth led the nation.
California Job Growth Faster Than National Trends. As shown in the summary table above, based on today's EDD data (including prior-month revisions), 14 of 18 employment sectors we track—the ones colored green—are ones where California payroll job growth rates over the past year have surpassed those for the U.S. as a whole. (By contrast, as of last month's report, before today's revisions, only 8 of 18 employment sectors were colored green.)
Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall. The state's official unemployment rate fell to 6.9% in January 2015 (down from 7.1% in December 2014 and down from 8.1% in January 2014). (This data and that in the EDD table below are derived from a different survey than that used to determine the payroll job growth described above.)
Los Angeles County Unemployment Rate. In Los Angeles County, which makes up about one-fourth of the state's employment base, the official unemployment rate in January 2015 was 7.9% on a seasonally-adjusted basis (8.1% not adjusted). This is nine-tenths of a percentage point lower than one year ago, but still a key driver of California's statewide unemployment rate being higher than the U.S.
Seasonal Adjustments. Most of the time, when we and other economic commentators discuss jobs data, we are discussing seasonally-adjusted employment. In January, for instance, California's seasonally-adjusted number of payroll jobs grew by 67,300, the number cited earlier in this note. Seasonal adjustment is a process whereby normal seasonal changes are removed or discounted from monthly data. Retail businesses, for example, often have more employees during the December holiday season than they employ in a month like January. Accordingly, without seasonal adjustments, the numbers are quite different. Without seasonal adjustments, California nonfarm payroll employment fell by 225,800 in January (and Los Angeles County employment fell by 62,100).
Other January Data Delayed. EDD has announced that most local and regional labor force and industry employment data for January will be released later, starting on Tuesday, March 10. This is due to the complexity associated with the annual data benchmarking process. In conjunction with this annual revision process, January 2014 California jobs were adjusted upward by about 138,000, led by upward adjustments in the large health and leisure/hospitality sectors. In addition, the state gained an estimated 78,000 more jobs between January 2014 and December 2014 than previously estimated, with these gains focused in local government and various service sectors.