California’s labor market report for June was full of good news. (note caveats below)
- It was the second consecutive month of noteworthy job growth
- The 11th consecutive month-over-month gain
- Job growth was more balanced than in May—five industry sectors had significant gains while May’s gains were concentrated in three sectors.
- The pace of job growth during the first half of 2012 rivals the pace set in 2005 and 2006—before the recession.
- Year-over-year job growth was the strongest by number and percent since June 2006.
- The unemployment rate dropped to 10.7% from 10.8%.
Better job growth was largely the result of improvements in sectors that were hit hard by the recession and have only recently started to turn around. A rebound in travel and tourism has boosted leisure and hospitality employment. Recent improvements in real estate markets helped construction (up 5% year-over-year) and financial activities (strongest year-over-year gain since June 2006).
In June, the state added 38,300 jobs and May’s initially-reported gain of 33,900 jobs was revised up to a 45,900-job gain (a 12,000-job improvement). Thus, over the two months, California gained 84,200 nonfarm jobs and boosted total employment to its highest level since February 2009.
California added 147,700 jobs during the first six months of 2012, which was the strongest half-year growth since the second half of 2005.
Year-over-year job gains in June totaled 279,100 or 2.0 percent—the strongest growth by number and percent since June 2006. The private sector led this growth. Private employment rose for the 12th consecutive month in June and was up 2.7 percent from a year earlier. In contrast total national employment was up 1.4 percent in June and private employment was up 1.8 percent.
Industry job gains in June were led by the trade, transportation, and utilities (9,400), leisure and hospitality (9,200), construction (8,100), and professional and business services (7,800). Other growth sectors included information (5,600), financial activities (4,400), and other services (2,100).
Four industry sectors lost jobs in June. Manufacturing lost 4.400; education and health service, 2,100; government 1,700 and mining and logging, 100.
This was a very good report but several consideration should be kept in mind. July could break this winning streak—the state lost jobs in each July from 2008 through 2011. Strong job growth at the state level may be hard to maintain if national employment gains remain tepid or weaken more (the nation added only 80,000 jobs in June). Despite the recent gains, there is still a long way to go to regain the jobs lost during the recession—nonfarm employment in June was still 885,500 jobs below the prerecession peak.