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SACRAMENTO January 24, 2020 – California’s unemployment rate held steadfast at its record low of 3.9 percent in December as the state’s employers added 12,600 nonfarm payroll jobs, according to data released today by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from two surveys. The job gains in December contribute to a record job expansion in California of 118 months, surpassing the long expansion of the 1960s. California has gained 3,422,900 jobs since the current expansion began in February 2010, accounting for more than 15 percent of the nation’s 22,688,000 job gain over the same timeframe.

California’s Labor Market, by the Numbers…

  • The state’s unemployment remained at 3.9 percent1 in December, maintaining a record low in a data series going back to the 1970s. The number of unemployed Californians is the lowest since 1989, despite large gains in statewide population since.

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  • The nation’s unemployment rate also remained unchanged in December, holding at 3.5 percent.
  • December’s 12,600 nonfarm payroll jobs2 gain was driven by growth in six of California’s 11 industry sectors. Professional & Business Services (6,500) posted the biggest jobs gain, fueled mostly by scientific research and development and advertising and related services. Educational & Health Services (5,200) also did well with job gains in dental offices and in-home supportive services leading the way.
  • Information, one of November’s top job-gaining sectors, posted December’s biggest jobs loss (-3,900) mainly due to weakness last month in the motion picture and sound recording subsector.
  1. The unemployment rate comes from a federal survey of 5,100 California households.
  2. The nonfarm payroll job numbers come from a separate federal survey of 80,000 California businesses.