Job Market Drag Continues as Labor Issues & Mismatch Persists

Coffee barista worker

Continued slow growth in each state’s labor force within the California and Nevada job markets continues to be the main culprit rearing its head out of a confluence of worker and employee trends transpiring over the past 12 months — a trend not expected to change course until mid to late-2022.

The pool of individuals who are “willing and able” to work, as well as job-jumpers from one occupation to another, is making for one of the most difficult job market situations in modern history as many large employers and small businesses trudge forward.

The following are the latest year-over-year and monthly December figures recently released by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the Nevada Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Department (DETR):

California’s December 2021 Employment Numbers
The California report shows the state’s unemployment rate fell to 6.5 percent in December 2021 (from a “readjusted” 7 percent in November 2021). After 19 months, this unemployment rate is down from its 16 percent peak in April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession hit the economy.

California employers added 50,700 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in December:

  • California’s labor force (pool of individuals willing and able to work) shot up by 369,400 in December 2021 from a year ago and now sits at nearly 19.07 million. However, it still remains -330,000 below its pre-pandemic level in February 2020 of 19.4 million.
  • California has now regained almost 72 percent (nearly 1.95 million jobs) of the approximate 2.7 million jobs lost during March and April of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession transpired.
  • The total number of Californians holding jobs (non-farm payroll, agriculture related, independent contractor/freelancers) was more than 17.8 million, which is up 879,800 from the combined “total” employment this time last year.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total nearly 16.9 million. These jobs (a subset of “total” jobs) increased by 954,400 (6 percent) from December 2020 to December 2021 compared to a U.S. annual gain of 4.5 percent. Essentially, the state’s year-over-year pace of job growth has more than caught up to the nation’s annualized pace in the post-pandemic jobs recovery era, although it took 15 months for California to play “catch up” with the United States (May 2020 – July 2021).
  • Ten of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in December.
  • Leisure and hospitality (+15,000) led the way due to significant gains in food services and drinking places.
  • Professional and business services (+12,000) has regained all of the jobs it lost during the pandemic-induced recession and had good month-over gains in professional, scientific and technical services with computer systems design and related services contributing strongly.
  • Month over month, no industry sectors lost jobs for the first time since March 2021.

Nevada’s December 2021 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in the state is up 3,700 jobs in December 2021 from the prior month, but still down by -79,000 jobs compared to April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession hit the economy. It’s a large gap continuing to close very slowly as individuals re-enter (and also leave) the labor force (pool of people saying they are willing and able to work).

The state’s December 2021 unemployment rate stands at 6.4 percent, down from a “readjusted” 6.9 percent in November — but still up from 3.7 percent in February of 2020 (pre-pandemic economy). The state’s job growth is up 94,700 from December 2020 to December 2021 (a nearly 7.4 percent increase), with total non-farm employment now standing at more than 1.37 million.

Nevada employers added jobs for the 20th consecutive month in December:

  • Las Vegas-area employment increased by 0.6 percent from November to December 2021 (month before) and by 78,700 jobs (8.7 percent) since December 2020.
  • Reno/Sparks-area employment increased by 0.4 percent from November to December 2021 (month before) and by 1,500 jobs (5.1 percent) since December 2020.
  • Carson City-area employment increased by 0 percent (no change) from November to December 2021 (month before) and by 1,400 jobs (4.7 percent) since December 2020.
  • The largest drop from pre-recession employment remains concentrated in the accommodation and food services industry, which remains down over -65,000 jobs (at 257,500 outstanding) compared to its peak of 322,500 jobs in that industry in February 2019.
  • At the same time, several industries remain at or above their pre-recession employment peaks. Transportation, warehousing, and utilities is at 89,300 jobs, more than 12 percent above its 2019 peak, with other industries including professional and business services, retail trade, and finance and insurance all employing more people today than before the recession.
  • Nevada’s unemployment rate (6.4 percent) is likely to remain one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and is “reflective of the long road left to a complete recovery.”

Pin It