Is “California’s Lowest Monthly Unemployment Rate Since the 1970s” Legit?

Employment statistics for July 2022 were released over the weekend by the EDD, showing new statewide unemployment records while noting several concerning trends.

According to the new statistics, California’s unemployment rate fell from 4.2% in June to 3.9% in July, hitting a new monthly low not seen since records began in 1976. For the seventh consecutive month , the number of employed Californians rose, with 84,800 non-farm payrolls added in July. By national monthly rates, California accounted for 16.1% of all new jobs nationwide in July, with the state contributing 477,600, or 14.5%, of the nation’s 3.296 million new jobs year-to-date. at the end of July.

Additionally, the number of unemployed Californians has fallen to its lowest level since 1979, with all private sector jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic now fully recovered.

“California people are returning to work with record high unemployment,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said over the weekend. “We have historic reserves and are putting money back into people’s pockets as we continue to lead the country’s economic recovery.”

However, despite the improving unemployment numbers, a closer look at the improving rate reveals many worrying trends. In particular, the overall loss of blue-collar jobs in California, the quality of jobs won, a decline in average income and the labor force participation rate have led many experts to believe that the COVID-19 job recovery in California might be more of a facade. , as experts have also warned in previous months.

“You have to look at the questions they’re not answering,” Raymond Fletcher, a Los Angeles-based economist specializing in underemployment, told The Globe on Monday. “Of course more people have jobs now, which is good on paper. But these jobs are no substitute for better paying jobs with benefits. These jobs usually pay less and have fewer benefits, if any. Or, due to the effects of the Big Quit and employers needing labor, the pay may now be just above minimum wage and come with insulting benefits. Restaurant jobs have been a big part of this new generation of jobs, so we’re seeing positions slightly above minimum wage to stay competitive for people. But those job seekers who lost their health insurance or 401k during the pandemic are now considering perks like “you can bring food home at night.” This is actually a big step forward for many.

Unemployment and underemployment statistics in California

“And blue-collar jobs in California are worse because they’re not usually replaced. Factories and distribution centers across the state have closed,” Fletcher continued. “And either don’t replace them. not in the affected areas, or they are replaced by warehouse and distribution jobs that pay less for more physical labor.”

“Even growth sectors, like trucking or nursing, have been hit hard by strikes or new laws that make these jobs much harder to do. Additionally, the state is bleeding higher paying jobs out of the state. All in all, the perfect storm is brewing behind these “good” figures. The unemployment rate is low, but it is supported by many menial and low-paying jobs rather than the better-paying jobs Californians need to meet higher expenses.

“The state, along with many localities, responded to all of this by raising the minimum wage or offering tax incentives for certain industries to stay. But that only worked to a certain extent, and it ignores a lot of other factories that lead to better jobs that pay better. The state needs to do better to keep workers away for California businesses in the state, but they also need to take a hard look at taxes and why many companies with these higher-paying jobs are leaving. Not to mention the affordable housing issues and the fact that despite low unemployment, homelessness remains a huge problem. Think about the juxtaposition here. We have an unemployment rate at rock bottom, but tens of thousands of people are still homeless in Los Angeles alone.

“These stats were supposed to be really good, but all they really do is hide the many employment and employment issues in California that can bring down those ‘good numbers’ at any time.”

August 2022 unemployment statistics are expected in mid-September.

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