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California Labor Market Ends 2016 On Down Note

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

December was a disappointing month for the California labor market. The state added just 3,700 jobs last month, and nearly 68,000 people left the labor market.
 
Although the unemployment rate dropped, from 5.3 percent to 5.2 percent, that's only because so many Californians stopped looking for work. That shrinking labor force is largely responsible for the drop in the jobless rate.
 
It's the second consecutive subpar labor market report for California, which only added 13,000 new jobs in November.
 

But overall, 2016 was a good year for California. The state added more than 330,000 jobs – a growth rate of two percent – and the unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percent.

The two sectors with the largest gains last year were educational and health services, and government. The manufacturing sector was one of two that lost jobs.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in the four-county Sacramento area dropped over the last year from 5.5 percent to 4.9 percent. The capital region added nearly 30,000 jobs in 2016.

From November to December, the construction and government sectors saw the biggest job losses. The state Employment Development Department says there are fewer construction jobs in the winter when it's raining. And when schools close for winter break, there are fewer government jobs...government includes education. Job losses were offset by gains in: leisure-and-hospitality; and trade-transportation-and-utilities.

Capital Public Radio's Steve Milne contributed to this report.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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