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California Unemployment Still Higher Than U.S. Rate

Bytemarks / Flickr

Bytemarks / Flickr

New unemployment data show California’s jobless rate is still higher than the national average.

The United States unemployment rate dropped to 5.3 percent in June, the lowest it’s been since April of 2008. But California’s jobless rate in June was one percent higher than the U.S. - 6.3 percent.

That may sound bad. But Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi says not if you put into perspective.

“The unemployment rate in the U.S. peaked at 10 percent," explains Adibi. "But California’s unemployment rate peaked at 12.4 percent. So when you look at it from the peak to current value we are about the same and actually a little bit better from where we were.”

Adibi says the recession disproportionally hit California much harder than the rest of the country with the demise of the state’s construction sector and mortgage industry.

The state Employment Development Department, or EDD, says California’s jobless rate fell by a tenth of a percent from 6.4 percent in May to 6.3 percent in June. That makes it the lowest rate since March of 2008.

But the percentage of monthly job growth was not as high as it typically is. Adibi points out that the state added 22,900 jobs between May and June.

"Which is almost 10 percent of all the jobs generated in the country," says Adibi, "and we usually do, California should do, better than the U.S. So we should have been more than 10 percent.”

Adibi says another disappointment in the new data is a downward revision for the month of May; about 8,000 fewer jobs were created than was originally reported.

Meanwhile, the Sacramento area jobless rate was relatively unchanged from May to June. The EDD says the unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in June, up from 5.6 percent in May.

The sector that saw the biggest job gains, both month-to-month and year-over-year, was leisure and hospitality. Two industries that saw month-over-month declines were education and health services. 


Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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