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California's Employment Development Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released California's June 2021 state jobs report today. Statewide nonfarm employment grew by an estimated 73,500 in May, the smallest increase since January. The official unemployment rate remained at 7.7 percent, less than half the peak of 16.0 percent last April at the height of the lockdown but still nearly double the pre-pandemic level of 3.9 percent last February. The survey reflects job changes through the week of June 6 to June 12. California accounted for 8.6 percent of the national estimate of 850,000 net jobs gained in June, below its 11.6 percent of the nation’s total payroll jobs as of February 2020.

The figure below shows how employment has evolved in both the state and the nation since the start of the pandemic. Overall employment in the state as of the middle of June was 7.0 percent below the level of February 2020, considerably worse than the national figure of 4.4 percent. Nearly half of this 2.6 percentage point gap is attributable to the leisure and hospitality sector which includes restaurants, bars, and hotels. California leisure/hospitality employment continued to rebound from the sharp drops in December and January, although it remains far more depressed than its national counterpart.

The next graph isolates aggregate employment in the other sectors and shows that the gap between the state and the rest of the nation widened slightly in June, a reversal of the previous months’ trend.

The next figure summarizes nonfarm employment by sector based on the monthly survey of employers. The leisure and hospitality sector discussed above again accounted for more than half of the statewide net gain. The health, local government, and other services sectors also had significant gains.


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