Selma Hepp is Pacific Union’s Chief Economist and Vice President of Business Intelligence
- In the last two months of 2017, California employers added more than 105,000 jobs, ending the year on an incredibly positive note. In fact, with more than 200,000 jobs added in the last four months of the year, it was the strongest streak of job growth in the state since the data series began almost 30 years ago.
- California’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, which marks the lowest point since 1976 according to a report from the state Employment Development Department. California’s unemployment rate is now only 0.2 percent higher than the national rate of 4.1 percent. This is incredible progress for California given that the unemployment rate peaked at more than 12 percent in 2010.
- Jobs gains were broad-based across many industries, with the most additions in the administrative support and leisure and hospitality sectors. The other industries with solid additions included transportation and warehousing, construction, financial services, and information. The construction, education, and information sectors, which all generally pay solid wages, put up the largest relative annual gains. Also, job growth in the information sector is good news, as the industry saw some losses earlier in 2017. On the other hand, while any job growth is welcome, the administrative support and leisure and hospitality sectors do not generally pay above-average wages.
- Regionally, solid job gains were seen in all California metropolitan areas.
- Los Angeles County added 8,300 jobs in December to reach 4,518,900. On a monthly basis, the largest gain was in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, followed by retail trade. Other industries that posted gains were financial activities, with a concentration in real estate and rental and leasing, which added 1,900 jobs. On an annual basis, the education and health services industries added the most positions, with information services following. Most of the information sector jobs were concentrated in motion pictures and sound recording.