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December 18, 2020

Beacon Employment Report | California

Presented by Beacon Economics

Copyright © Beacon Economics LLC

California Job Recovery Continued in November but Covid Resurgence Likely to Slam December Numbers

State Unemployment Rate And Workforce Decline

California’s labor market continued to recover in November, with total nonfarm employment in the state expanding by 57,100 positions over the month, according to an analysis released jointly by the UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development and Beacon Economics. This figure represents a slowdown from the 145,600 jobs added in October, as the surge in COVID-19 cases and mandated business restrictions began to take their toll on the state’s labor market.


Lost Jobs Recovered

November represented the seventh straight month of jobs gains since the depths of the labor market downturn in April. Although over this time, only 46% of the jobs lost have been recovered in the state. “In isolation, California’s November job performance is not terrible; in 2019, a ‘normal’ year, it would have been by far the best preforming month,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at the Center for Forecasting and Beacon Economics. “But because job losses since February measure at more than a million workers, and because of the continued surge of new COVID cases in the state, this is not a report that will bring much-needed cheer to California’s workers.”

1.4 million

Fewer Employed

In November, there were 1.4 million fewer people employed in the state than in February 2020. Total nonfarm employment in California has contracted 8.0% since February. This pace of growth trails the nation overall, where the labor market has shrunk by 6.5% over the same period. On a positive note, California accounted for over 23% of the jobs added in the nation in November. However, given the surge of virus cases and further restrictions on business activity, this trend is unlikely to continue in December.


CA Unemployment Rate

California’s unemployment rate declined to 8.2% in November, down from 9.0% in the previous month, but remains elevated relative to the 6.7% rate in the United States overall. The decline in the state’s unemployment rate was aided by a contracting labor force in November, which fell by 327,600. However, this decline came after a substantial surge in the state’s labor force in October (+548,000), which now looks like a data anomaly. In November, there were 630,000 fewer people looking for work in the state compared to February 2020.



The Beacon Employment Report | California is a unique analysis of California’s employment numbers and trends. Each month, we link our own econometric predictions to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the California Employment Development Department to identify important changes in employment across industries and regions. The Beacon Employment Report is also one of the few analyses that uses seasonally adjusted numbers, which are critical to revealing accurate trends and insights within data. The analysis is a sample of the kind of research available from the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

More Information

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Director of Business Development Rick Smith at 858.997.1834 or

Deputy Director Sherif Hanna at 424.646.4656 or