Annual Data Revisions Show Healthier CA & NV Job Markets

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Annual seasonal revisions to each state’s labor force numbers within the job market show California and Nevada recovered lost employees and work positions coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic at a noticeably faster rate than previously thought.

This is positive news. However, it is tempered by continued slow growth in the labor force (pool of individuals “willing and able” to work), which displays an unfortunate pattern in worker and employee trends across both states.

Workers continue jumping from one occupation or job position to another, making for one of the most difficult job market situations in modern history as many large employers and small businesses trudge forward. Meanwhile, local and state health restrictions coming out of multiple waves of COVID-19 cases have also made their impact.

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

California’s February 2022 Employment Numbers
The California report (seasonally adjusted annual revisions) shows the state’s unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent in January 2022 (from a “readjusted” 5.8 percent in December 2021). After 20 months, this unemployment rate is down from its 16.1 percent peak in May 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession hit the economy.

California employers added 53,600 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in January:

  • California’s labor force (pool of individuals willing and able to work) shot up by 406,600 in January 2022 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 approximately 82 percent (2.26 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 nearly 18 million, which is up 939,700 from the combined “total” employment this time last year.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total nearly 17.2 million. These jobs (a subset of “total” jobs) increased by 1.18 million (7.4 percent) from January 2021 to January 2022 compared to a U.S. annual gain of 4.6 percent. While the state’s year-over-year pace of job growth has more than caught up to the nation’s, California’s outstanding total number of jobs/employment is still playing catch-up in relative comparison to the United States.
  • Eight of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in January.
  • Trade, transportation and utilities (+26,600) posted the largest gain, primarily within the general freight trucking industry subsector. Both the trade, transportation/utilities and professional and business services industry sectors have regained all job losses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The largest industry sector job losses were in government (-800), specifically in local government education.

Nevada’s January 2022 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in the state is up 50,400 jobs in January 2022 (seasonally adjusted annual revisions) from the prior month, but still down by -24,200 jobs compared to February 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession hit the economy. It’s a gap that’s continuing to close as individuals re-enter (and also leave) the labor force (pool of people saying they are willing and able to work).

Nevada’s January 2022 unemployment rate stands at 5.2 percent, down from a “readjusted” 5.3 percent in December — but still up from 3.7 percent in February of 2020 (pre-pandemic economy). The state’s job growth is up 132,900 from January 2021 to January 2022 (a 10.3 percent increase), with total non-farm employment now standing at nearly 1.43 million.

Nevada employers added jobs for the 21st consecutive month in January 2022:

  • Las Vegas-area employment increased by 0.2 percent from December 2021 to January 2022 (month before) and by 119,800 jobs (13.1 percent) since January 2021. The area currently remains -25,000 jobs below February 2020 (but putting aside the casino/hotel industry within leisure and hospitality, it is actually 6,000 jobs higher than before the pandemic).
  • Reno/Sparks-area employment increased by 0.5 percent from December 2021 to January 2022 (month before) and by 9,700 jobs (4 percent) since January 2021. The area now has more jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Carson City-area employment increased by 0 percent (no change) from December 2021 to January 2022 (month before) and by 900 jobs (3 percent) since January 2021.
  • The unemployment rate in Nevada (5.2 percent) is now half of what it was a year ago. From 2015-2019, the unemployment rate in Nevada averaged 5.2 percent — the same rate seen in January 2022.
  • It is now known that Nevada’s economy was performing better at the end of 2021 than originally believed, and that momentum is carrying the state forward into 2022.

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