California's Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

California's unemployment rate continued to hold steady through the month of May. Employment Development Department spokeswoman Loree Levy says employers added 5,500 non-farm payroll jobs last month. 

"We had an unemployment rate that held steady at 4.2 percent in May, and that continues to be a record low in the data series going back to 1976," said Levy.

California's "unemployment" rate is determined by a monthly survey of households, counting who is in the workforce - who's working, who's not, and who is looking for work. The rate is the percentage of those "officially unemployed" divided by "all" workers. 

The number of Californians who were unemployed last month also fell to a thirty-year low. It's also close to the national unemployment rate, which has fallen to 4.1 percent. Levy says California had several different industries show strong rates of hiring in May. 

"Leading the way was leisure and hospitality. And performing arts and gambling industries were major contributors to that job gain," said Levy. "And then right behind that was professional and business services with biotech, travel and recycling firms providing the boost there. 

Construction jobs in California however, did not fare as well in May. That industry reported the largest decrease in jobs available in May. Four out of California's eleven industry sectors added 13,000 jobs last month. That's helped keep the unemployment rate steady. 

Imperial County reported having the largest unemployment rate at 15.8 percent, while San Mateo was able to boast the smaller unemployment rate with only 1.9 percent. Levy says both rates reflect the seasonal nature of the industries located in Imperial County and the unstoppable economic engine that is Silicon Valley. 

"We definitely have in some of those seasonal areas along the border and the valley that tend to be some of the higher unemployment rates, simply because of the seasonal nature of that economy. A lot of the high tech, high wage jobs in the Bay Area where some of the unemployment rates continue to be the lowest, because of the driving force of that economy," Levy said. 

California's boom times are expected to continue. A recent survey from the UCLA Anderson School of Business said the Golden State can expect to see a golden road ahead for the foreseeable future. According to Beacon Economics Economist Robert Kleinhenz, California's economy is on a good track to continue the economic growth we've seen for the rest of the year. 

"It'll be bumping up against some constraints, mainly in the form of labor force growth, which has slowed a little bit as we've reached full employment." Kleinhenz said. "But the state and its regions are poised to grow throughout 2018. There's every expectation that will continue into 2019." 

Since 2010, California has accounted for nearly 20 percent of the nation's economic growth, outpacing the state's population and overall output. 

Photo: Getty Images

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