LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Local, state and federal unemployment started off 2021 by edging slightly downward, according to the latest jobless report from the state of California.

The California Employment Development Department said the unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percentage points to 9.0 percent in January as the state’s employers lost 69,900 jobs. The EDD said California’s January 2020 jobless rate was 4.2 percent.

Lake County’s unemployment rate in January was 8.8 percent, down from 9 percent in December. The county’s January 2020 unemployment rate was 6 percent.

On the national level, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nationwide jobless rate for January was 6.3 percent, down from 6.7 percent in December. The January 2020 federal unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

California payroll jobs totaled 15,868,000 in January 2021, down 69,900 from December 2020 and down 1,752,800 from January of last year. This comes after December’s downward-revised month-over loss of 75,400 jobs, down by 23,200 jobs due, in part, to new 2020 benchmark data and methodology, the EDD reported.

Despite December and January combining for a two-month total of 145,300 jobs lost, California has regained more than 39 percent of the upwards-revised 2,714,800 nonfarm jobs that were lost during the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April, 2020.

Benchmark revisions to state data amount to a new lower peak unemployment rate of 16 percent during the pandemic, reached in April-May – down from the 16.4 percent estimate. But the job loss from February-December was revised up from 1.46 million to 1.72 million, the state said.

In January, Lake County had a civilian labor force of 28,600 people, up from 28,060 in December and down just slightly from the 28,620 reported in January 2020.

Lake County’s unemployed residents totaled 2,530 in January, compared to 2,470 in December and 1,790 the previous year, according to EDD statistics.

Leading Lake County’s job sectors in January was total farm, which was up by 21.2 percent, while total nonfarm was down by 0.1 percent overall.

Subcategories that showed growth included information, 12.5 percent; professional and business services, 3.1 percent; government, 1.5 percent; leisure and hospitality, 1 percent; and service producing, 0.3 percent.

The largest declines were in wholesale trade, -11.1 percent; goods producing, -4.3 percent; and private service producing, -0.3 percent.

In January, Lake County ranked No. 36 out of the state’s 58 counties for its jobless rate.

Lake’s neighboring counties’ jobless rates and ranks in the latest report are Colusa, 15.6 percent, No. 57; Glenn, 7.9 percent, No. 24; Napa, 8.6 percent, No. 31; Sonoma, 7.1 percent, No. 14; and Yolo, 7 percent, No. 13.

The highest unemployment rate, 16.5 percent, was reported in Imperial County, while Marin, at 5.4 percent, had the lowest statewide in January, the EDD reported.

The state employment picture

The EDD report said the number of Californians with jobs in January was 16,988,800, an increase of 31,800 jobs from December’s total of 16,957,000, but down 1,624,500 from the employment total in January of last year.

The number of unemployed Californians was 1,680,100 in January, a decrease of 68,400 over the month, but up by 856,300 in comparison to January of last year, according to the report.

Total nonfarm jobs in California’s 11 major industries totaled 15,868,000 in January, a net loss of 69,900 jobs from December. This followed a downward-revision of 23,200 jobs in December for a month-over loss of 75,400 jobs that month, the state reported.

The EDD said total nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,752,800 – down 9.9 percent – from January 2020 to January 2021 compared to the U.S. annual loss of 9,603,000 jobs, a 6.3 percent decrease.

At the same time, the report said the number of jobs in the agriculture industry increased by 2,000 from December 2020 to 420,200 jobs in January 2021. The agricultural industry has the same number of farm jobs as it did in January 2020.

Six of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in January:

– Trade, transportation, and utilities (+13,700) had the state’s largest month-over increase thanks to gains in retail trade;
– Government and professional and business services each had an increase of 3,600 jobs;
– Financial activities and information each grew by 600 jobs;
– Mining and logging was up by 500 jobs.

On the loss side, leisure and hospitality lost 70,600 jobs due to large losses in accommodation and food services.

Other losses were reported in the following:

– Education and health services, down 10,000 jobs;
– Manufacturing, down 4,600 jobs;
– Construction, down 4,000 jobs;
– Other services decreased by 3,300 jobs.

The EDD also reported on Unemployment Insurance claims.

There were 818,589 people certifying for Unemployment Insurance benefits during the January 2021 sample week. That compares to 1,007,331 people in December and 339,026 people in January 2020.

Concurrently, 58,377 initial claims were processed in the January 2021 sample week, which was a month-over decrease of 100,715 claims from December 2020, but a year-over increase of 12,635 claims from January 2020, the EDD reported.

Email Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.