California employers add 104,500 jobs; unemployment rate drops to 7.9%

California employers added 104,500 nonfarm payroll jobs in May versus April’s revised employment gains of 102,000, according to the state Employment Development Department. May’s 7.9% unemployment rate improves on April’s revised rate of 8.0%, April 2020’s peak rate of 16% and May 2020’s rate of 15.6%.

In May 2021, nine of California’s 11 industry sectors added payroll jobs versus the seven sectors registering employment growth in April. Leisure and hospitality employers added 62,300 new hires in May and 420,400 jobs between May 2020 and May 2021. There were 1.54 million leisure and hospitality workers employed statewide in May in a labor force of 18.9 million, according to EDD data.

The second-fastest growing California employment sector in May, education and health services, registered 16,500 new hires, up 161,100 jobs during the 12 months ending in May 2021. Information employers added 11,200 new hires in May and 30,700 jobs between May 2020 and May 2021. Information sector job gains, this May, are from motion picture and sound recording hiring.

The construction sector suffered the biggest month-over-month job losses, 1,600, this May. The culprit is losses in non-residential building construction, according to the EDD.

California’s agriculture industry employed 5,100 fewer workers in May 2021 versus May 2020. There were 409,900 agricultural workers on employer payrolls in May 2021.

In May’s sample week, 569,512 people certified for Unemployment Insurance benefits versus 579,498 Californians in April’s comparable seven-day period. In May 2020, at the height of the pandemic shelter-in-place that Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered, there were 2,154,692 certified for UI, reflecting massive business closures.

The Golden State has regained 51.8% of the mainly service sector jobs lost in March and April 2020, as the state shut down to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. With the May data, the Golden State has registered four consecutive months of job gains.

However, there remain 1.5 million unemployed Californians, according to the EDD, based on a monthly federal survey of 5,100 households statewide. The California economy reopened fully on June 15.

This article was originally posted on California employers add 104,500 jobs; unemployment rate drops to 7.9%

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