California’s unemployment held steady in June as the state continues to recover from pandemic losses, though the pace of adding jobs has slowed as workers take their time rejoining the labor force.

After four consecutive months of adding over 100,000 jobs per month, June saw gains of 73,500 jobs, state officials reported Friday. The state’s jobless rate stayed flat at 7.7%, as an expanded labor force offset job gains. The state’s Employment Development Department revised the May unemployment figure to 7.7%, from 7.9%.

The problem has shifted from a weakness in worker demand to one of supply.

Economist Lynn Reaser

The latest jobs numbers still underscore the economy’s continued recovery after the state dropped COVID-19 restrictions on businesses starting June 15, and as people venture out more into restaurants and theme parks and travel picks up.

California typically added between 15,000 and 25,000 jobs each month, before the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.

The state had 16.42 million jobs as of June. Eight of 11 industry sectors added jobs last month, led by leisure and hospitality, which added 44,000 new jobs. For the last five months, that sector has been the fastest-growing industry in the state, thanks to restaurants rehiring and tourism ramping up.

The construction industry lost the most jobs in June, but some economists said this is likely a temporary blip on the road to recovery, not a trend. The sector lost 3,000 jobs, largely building foundation and exterior contractors, according to the EDD.

Economists said the recovery now hinges more on filling jobs rather than creating them. Workers seem slower to return to the job market than in previous recessions, as the state’s active labor pool is still below its pre-pandemic level.

“California’s job engine made further progress in June, but the problem has shifted from a weakness in worker demand to one of supply,” said Lynn Reaser, an economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Los Angeles County followed similar trends. Total employment increased by 28,700 to 4,209,900, and leisure and hospitality jobs led the gains, adding 14,300 jobs.

In June, the county still had one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, at 10.6%, down from a revised 10.7% in May.

Ben Wheatley, head rigger with Bahia Marine, goes below deck aboard a 67' sailboat in Alamitos Bay Marina.

Ben Wheatley, head rigger with Bahia Marine, goes below deck aboard a 67′ sailboat in Alamitos Bay Marina. Wheatley hasn’t really had time off since the pandemic begun.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Nancy Wheatley, manager of Bahia Marine Inc., a sailboat rigging and marine hardware store in Huntington Beach, has been struggling to fill an entry-level job since April. The position is for an assistant to a master rigger — someone mechanically-minded to help a boat specialist on jobs, no experience necessary.

“Normally it’s not hard to get people to walk through the door with an application,” said Wheatley, who typically fills these jobs in a couple of weeks. Her son Ben, the company’s master rigger, has had to do the jobs alone in the

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.9% in May, the same as the revised rate in April, the Oregon Employment Department reported Tuesday. This was the first time Oregon’s rate was below 6% since March 2020, when the state’s rate was 3.6%. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.8% in May from 6.1% in April.

In Oregon, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 6,900 in May, following monthly gains averaging 11,400 in the prior four months. Monthly gains in May were largest in private education (+3,400 jobs); professional and business services (+2,900); construction (+900); and financial activities (+900). Only one major industry shed more than 500 jobs in May: transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-800 jobs).

In May, Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment totaled 1,864,000, a drop of 109,000 jobs, or 5.5% from the pre-recession peak in February 2020. Oregon’s employment dropped to a low of 1,687,500 by April 2020. Since then, Oregon has recovered 176,500 jobs, or 62% of the jobs lost between February and April 2020.

Leisure and hospitality accounts for the bulk of Oregon’s jobs not recovered since early 2020. It employed 169,600 in May, and added only 1,600 jobs in the most recent two months. The industry is still 46,700 jobs below its peak month of February 2020, so it accounts for 43% of overall nonfarm payroll jobs lost since Oregon’s pre-recession peak. The restaurants, bars, and hotels that make up accommodation and food services have shown flat hiring trends over the most recent three months; the employment level in this component industry has been close to 150,000 in March, April, and May.

Local government is another industry that has a long way to go to get back to normal. Employment averaged 207,400 in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 229,000 during the most recent pre-recession year of 2019. In May, local government employed 207,800. Local government education—including K-12 schools, community colleges, and public universities—accounts for over half of all local government employment.

A return to pre-pandemic employment is closer at hand for several major industries that were less impacted by the COVID recession. Although the following industries still haven’t surpassed their pre-recession peak, each is within 3% of attaining that milestone: trade, transportation, and utilitiesfinancial activitiesinformationconstruction; and professional and business services.

Next Press Releases

The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the May county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, June 22, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for June on Tuesday, July 13.

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The PDF version of the news release can be found at QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit QualityInfo.org, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about

The April jobs report is a clear sign the state’s economy is in recovery, with job gains up 5.5% compared with April 2020, and the number of unemployed down 56.7%. The tourism sector posted the biggest recovery with a 47.3% year-over-year jobs gain.

Arkansas’ jobless rate in April was 4.4%, unchanged from March and well below the 10% in April 2020 – the highest monthly jobless rate during the COVID-19pandemic. The number of employed in Arkansas during April was an estimated 1,302,691, up 68,488 jobs compared with April 2020, according to Friday’s (May 21) report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

“Our stable unemployment rate assures me that we are steadily moving in the right direction after more than a year of COVID-19,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “Before the pandemic, our economy was strong. We’ve encountered many challenges over the past 15 months, but we have persevered and fought our way back from the 10 percent rate a year ago.”

The April numbers are preliminary and subject to revision. The report marked 13 months of COVID-19 impacts on the economy.

The state’s labor force – the number of people eligible to work – was 1,362,081 in April, down compared with the 1,371,571 in April 2020, and above the 1,360,097 in March. Arkansans without jobs in April totaled 59,389, down from 60,184 in March but much better than the 137,367 in April 2020 when many parts of the state economy were essentially closed.

The biggest sector gains were in Leisure & Hospitality (35,500 more jobs), Trade, Transportation & Utilities (up 16,300 jobs) and Professional & Business Services (up 14,600 jobs). The only large sector to lose jobs was Government, with 800 fewer jobs compared with April 2020. Even with the significant jobs gain in the tourism sector (Leisure & Hospitality), employment is down more than 12,000 jobs from record employment in the sector.

GROWTH WITH THE ‘UI BOOST’
Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, said the tourism sector job gains are not unexpected.

“It’s not terribly surprising to see the improvements in employment in food services in Arkansas in April. The sector showed strong employment in the national data released earlier this month and indicates that businesses in that sector are slowly recovering. It’s important to note that the labor force was growing again in April, even with the $300 UI boost and before any announcements were made about it ending,” Jebaraj noted in a statement to Talk Business & Politics.

Several state governors, including Gov. Hutchinson, have ended participation in federal supplemental jobless benefits which provided an extra $300 a week to those who qualified. The governors said the expanded jobless benefit discouraged people from re-entering the workforce. Arkansas’ extra unemployment insurance benefit ended 10 weeks early.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law in early March by President Joe Biden included $300-a-week federal unemployment benefits through September. The plan also included $1,400


LEE COUNTY

Southwest Florida International Airport held a job fair Wednesday to fill 250 positions.

The day started with a good number of people on the hunt for one of the jobs. Some were hired on the spot and others scheduled interviews.

Most of the jobs are available because the airport expects travel to take off.

One of the job hunters who turned up was Tom Donlon. He worked in an airport out west for more than 30 years, retired to Cape Coral, and then got the itch to work again.

“Retirement is fun but there’s only so much fun you can have,” he said with a laugh. “Then it kind of starts wearing off after a while. The novelty is gone and I just like to meet people.”

He hopes he met the right people Wednesday. He was among hundreds of job seekers with a résumé in hand and dressed to impress.

“Before COVID hit, our operation was kind of minimal, but now after COVID, our operations are actually growing. So we get to hire more people than before COVID even hit,” said Xavier Barrett, station manager for EULEN America, which provides ground crews and passenger support services.

He said they hired six people and no one is happier about that than his short staff.

“Usually this time of year it gets very slow but airlines are actually increasing flights so it’s actually busier, so there’s more opportunities for us and more opportunities for the public in employment,” said Greg Smith, general manager of Swissport.

Donlon said it’s all about finding the right fit.

“Everybody’s looking for something different and you just have to find your connection and if you do, you’re fortunate, and if you’re not, you just keep on trying someplace else,” he said.

The hiring manager from Swissport, an aviation services company that provides ground and cargo handling, said the company doesn’t really hire this time of year, but with increased traffic at the airport, there’s a need.