NV Job Market Hits New Record; CA Recovery Reaches 97%

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Total non-farm payroll employment in California has recovered 97 percent of jobs lost in the labor market two-and-a-half years since the COVID-19 pandemic recession devastated the economy. Meanwhile, Nevada’s job market is reaching new record highs after more than recovering from its pandemic-era losses.

However, these recoveries don’t account for lost ground and opportunity costs coming out of the pandemic. Specifically in California from mid-2020 to mid-2022, the state’s labor force — the pool of individuals willing and able to work — has shrunk due to public health restrictions and concerns, policy and employer decisions, the volatile business environment, federal and state financial relief, and worker fluidity in a tight labor market. Today, California’s labor force sits at nearly 19.33 million individuals, but this is approximately -70,000 below the state’s pre-pandemic labor force in February 2020 of 19.4 million.

Essentially, both California and Nevada job markets may have been even more robust by 2022 if COVID-19 never impacted the economy and policy decisions, assuming no other negative financial or economic events transpired.

The following are the latest year-over-year and monthly July figures (released Aug. 19) by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the Nevada Employment Training and Rehabilitation Department (DETR):

California’s July 2022 Employment Numbers
The California report shows the state’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in July 2022 (from a “readjusted” 4.2 percent in June 2022). After 27 months, this unemployment rate is down from its 16.1 percent peak in May 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic recession hit the economy.

(Related story: Most CA Metro Job Markets Won’t Fully Recover Until Mid-2023)

California employers added 84,800 non-farm monthly payroll jobs in July:

  • California’s labor force (pool of individuals willing and able to work) shot up by 310,500 in July 2022 from a year ago and now sits at nearly 19.33 million. However, it still remains approximately -70,000 below its pre-pandemic level in February 2020 of nearly 19.4 million.
  • California has now regained more than 97 percent (about 2.69 million jobs) of the approximate 2.76 million non-farm payroll 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 18.59 million, which is up 958,600 from the combined total employment this time last year.
  • Non-farm company payroll jobs now total more than 17.6 million. These jobs (a subset of “total” jobs) increased by 740,000 (4.4 percent) from July 2021 to July 2022 compared to a U.S. annual gain of 4.2 percent.
  • 10 of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in July, with professional and business services and educational/health services both up 20,500 jobs since June 2022. The former experienced above-average gains in computer systems design, advertising, and investigation and security services, while the latter experienced increases in offices of “other” health care practitioners, nursing and residential care facilities, and individual and family services.
  • Financial activities (-1,900) was the only industry sector to post a month-over job loss due mainly to reductions in insurance carriers.
  • July 2022 marked the 10th consecutive month of non-farm job gains and the 13th consecutive month of the state’s unemployment rate declining.

Nevada’s July 2022 Employment Numbers
The Nevada report shows employment in the state is up 7,700 jobs in July 2022 and 78,400 jobs from a year ago (a 5.7 percent annual increase).

In fact, total non-farm employment (payroll and independent jobs combined) currently sits at a new all-time record high of 1.461 million individuals (12,200 above the previous peak in early 2020).

June 2022 was the first month Nevada’s payroll jobs market finally closed the gap inflicted since the COVID-19 recession that transpired two-and-a-half years ago. Total non-farm employment now stands well above its pre-pandemic peak before the COVID-19 employment fallout. The market has experienced a slow-and-steady positive trend that continued as individuals re-entered (and also left) the labor force (pool of individuals saying they are willing and able to work) over this period.

Nevada’s July 2022 unemployment rate stands at 4.4 percent (from a “readjusted” 4.7 percent in June), which is up from 3.7 percent in February of 2020 (pre-pandemic economy). At one point during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the state’s unemployment rate hit 28.2 percent.

Overall, Nevada employers added jobs for the 27th consecutive month in July 2022:

  • Among 13 industry sectors, nine of them have met or exceeded their pre‐pandemic levels of employment.
  • Some industry sectors have experienced a large increase in employment from pre‐pandemic levels. For example, in transportation, warehousing, and utilities there’s been a recovery of 121.2 percent. Likewise, manufacturing displays a 111.6 percent recovery.
  • Las Vegas-area employment increased by 0.5 percent (5,400 jobs) from June to July 2022 (month before) and by 54,800 jobs (5.4 percent) since July 2021.
  • Reno/Sparks-area employment increased by 0.4 percent (1,000 jobs) from June to July 2022 (month before) and by 10,000 jobs (4 percent) since July 2021.
  • Carson City-area employment increased by 0.3 percent (100 jobs) from June to July 2022 (month before) and by 1,100 jobs (3.6 percent) since July 2021.

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