California employers hire 119,600 workers in March; unemployment rate remains above U.S. average | California

(The Center Square) – The California economy added 119,600 nonfarm payroll jobs in March, down from February’s upwards-revised gain of 156,100 new hires, according to the state Employment Development Department.

The March unemployment rate in the Golden State fell 0.2 percentage points from February to 8.3%, compared with 6.0% in the U.S. The California unemployment rate hit 16% in April 2020, one month after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

In March, 10 of California’s 11 industry sectors added payroll jobs. Full-service restaurants in the leisure and hospitality sector propelled the 42,400 new hires in March, after losing 576,600 jobs for the 12 months ending in March 2021, according to the EDD. Trade, transportation and utilities employers added 32,200 jobs in March, having lost 58,900 jobs over the past year. The third-fastest growing employment sector, professional and business services, gained 22,000 jobs in March, but has dropped 90,300 jobs in the past 12 months.

California’s employment and unemployment figures track the closing and opening of the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The number of Californians with jobs in March was 17,342,600, an increase of 9,900 jobs from February’s total of 17,332,700, but down 962,000 from the employment total in March of last year,” according to the EDD. “The number of unemployed Californians was 1,560,400 in March, a decrease of 49,600 over the month, but up by 696,300 in comparison to March of last year.”

In March, 680,279 Californians certified for Unemployment Insurance benefits in the March 2021’s sample week, down from 794,348 UI filings in February and 424,645 in March 2020. Initial UI claims hit 96,212 in the sample week of March 2021 versus February’s 5,500 claims and a year-over drop of 90,267 claims in March 2020.

“Today’s jobs report is another marker of how far we’ve come together – and of how much work we still have to do,” said California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su, in a joint statement with the Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Dee Dee Myers. “​The growth in leisure and hospitality jobs is encouraging given how devastating COVID-19 was to the industry.

“With vaccine eligibility now expanded to Californians 16 and older, ​our safe reopening and strong recovery will require ​an ongoing commitment to vaccine access and to a safe workplace for everyone, as more and more Californians get back to work.”

There were 18,912,300 workers in California’s labor force in March 2021.

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