California’s job growth continues in July, but unemployment rises


California again put up solid employment numbers in July, adding 36,400 new positions in a month that also brought stellar job news for the nation overall.

But the state’s unemployment rate went up for the second month in a row, rising to 5.5% in July from 5.4% in June, according to state data released Friday.

For the record:

7:43 a.m. May 18, 2024An earlier version of this article said the trade, transportation and utilities sector gained 4,900 net jobs in July. The sector gained 14,900.

That’s a sign that the market, at least for now, hasn’t managed to offset a wave of new people entering the labor force. In July the group of people looking for a job expanded by 60,100 workers, after increasing by 25,000 in June.


California’s jobless rate again was worse than the country’s as a whole — the nationwide rate was 4.9% in July.

“There is a lot of momentum still in the economy,” said Robert Kleinhenz, an economist at Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm. “These people who showed up to the labor force and added to the unemployment rate will find jobs in a couple months.”

Kleinhenz said he expected the tech sector, or service sectors such as hospitality and retail, would soon find space for those new workers.

Payrolls in the state are still expanding faster than in the U.S. overall: California has added a total of 374,600 jobs in the last 12 months, posting a growth rate of 2.3%. Payrolls nationwide, meanwhile, grew just 1.7% since July 2015.

Los Angeles County lost a stark 56,300 jobs in July, without adjusting for seasonality, thanks partly to the summer recess for public schools, which led to cuts in jobs tied to education. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate still decreased over the month, hitting 4.8% in July, a tenth of a percentage point below the national rate.


In the last three months, California employers have hired a net 97,100 people, significantly fewer than they did in the same period last year.

That’s mainly because California employers were less sanguine than they were last July, when they added 115,800 net jobs.

July was a bad month for the leisure and hospitality, government employer and mining sectors, which together cut a net 6,100 positions.

The trade, transportation and utilities sector registered the biggest gains, adding 14,900 net jobs last month. Professional services and education and health services together hired 18,600 net people.

Manufacturing, which has seen tepid growth all year, boosted payrolls by 7,100.

The building boom in California has fueled unrelenting job gains in construction, one of the few remaining fields that provides solid wages for people who don’t have advanced degrees. Builders’ payrolls grew by 1,900 in July.


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3 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details.

This article was originally published at 10:30 a.m.