January 18, 2019

Beacon Employment Report

Presented by Beacon Economics and the UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development

Welcome to the Beacon Employment Report, 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. Click here to learn more about why seasonal adjustment is critical to revealing accurate trends and insights within data. The analysis is a sample of the kind of research available from the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

Employment Data Resources

View the latest seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for:

United States

View seasonally adjusted industry employment data for California’s 28 MSAs and MDs:

January 2019 Report


Subscribe today to receive select forecasts and analyses by email:

Subscribe Today

Need Forecast Data?

Beacon Economics provides customized five-year data forecasts for variables including:
  • Taxable Sales
  • Home Prices & Sales
  • Personal Income
  • Unemployment
Contact Us


California capped out 2018 with another solid month of employment gains, according to an analysis released jointly by Beacon Economics and the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. The state increased payrolls by 24,500 jobs in the latest numbers from the California Employment Development Department. These gains place California’s year-over-year employment increase at 1.7%, just behind the national growth rate of 1.8%.

California’s unemployment rate inched up to 4.2% in December, a 0.1 percentage point increase over November. However, the driving force behind the increase was an uptick in the state’s labor force, which grew by 75,800 during the month. While labor force growth was slow from a year-over-year perspective earlier in 2018, stronger growth over the past several months has helped push year-over-year gains to 1.1%.

Note: There is often significant volatility in this data series, particularly during the months surrounding the upcoming March revisions by the EDD. Due to the volatility, Beacon and the UCR Center caution against reading too much into these figures.

”As expected, Federal tax cuts and increased government spending boosted the economy last year, but we were concerned that a tight labor market would limit growth,” said Robert Kleinhenz, Economist and Executive Director of Research at Beacon Economics. “However, the year ahead looks good with this surge in the labor force in recent months, precipitated in part by sharp increases in earnings at year end.”

Key Findings:

The Leisure and Hospitality sector was responsible for adding the most jobs this month, increasing payrolls by 9,500 positions during December. The strong month helped push year-over-year gains for the sector to 2.8% (+56,300 positions).
Health Care also had a strong month, increasing payrolls by 7,100 jobs in December. With these gains, year-over-year growth for the sector stands at 2.7%, well above the statewide average of 1.7%. Other sectors that performed well in December include Logistics (+4,400 positions), Professional, Scientific & Technical Services (+2,000 positions), and Government (+1,900 positions).
Despite steady gains for the state overall, a handful of sectors shed jobs in December. Declines were strongest in Wholesale Trade, which shed 2,300 positions. Other sectors that lost positions during the month were Construction (-1,300 positions), Retail Trade (-1,200 positions), and Other Services (-300 positions).
While growth was spread across the state in December, it was strongest in the San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco (MD) increased payrolls by 5,400, followed by San Jose (+3,400), the East Bay (+2,900), San Rafael (MD) (+800), and Vallejo (+700). From a year-over-year perspective, growth has been the fastest in San Rafael (MD) (3.6%), followed by San Jose (3.3%), San Francisco (MD) (2.1%), the East Bay (2.0%), Vallejo (1.9%), and Santa Rosa (1.9%).
In Southern California, Los Angeles (MD) added the most positions in December, increasing payrolls by 3,000. Los Angeles (MD) was followed by San Diego (+2,700) and Ventura (+1,300). Payrolls contracted in Orange County (MD) (-3,200) and the Inland Empire (-1,400) during the month. From a year-over-year perspective, growth was fastest in El Centro (2.4%), followed by Ventura (2.1%), the Inland Empire (2.0%), and San Diego (2.0%).
In the Central Valley, Sacramento added the most positions in December, increasing payrolls by 2,800. Growth in Sacramento was followed by Fresno (+1,000), Bakersfield (+300), and Modesto (+200). From a year-over-year perspective, growth has been the fastest in Merced (3.5%), followed by (Chico (3.4%), Stockton (2.6%), Fresno (2.5%), and Bakersfield (2.2%).
On the Central Coast, Salinas added the most positions in December, increasing payrolls by 300. This was followed by San Luis Obispo where payrolls increased by 100 during the month. From a year-over-year perspective growth has been strongest in Salinas (2.8%), followed by Santa Cruz (1.7%), San Luis Obispo (1.0%), and Santa Barbara (0.8%).

More Information

For information about any of the Center’s research services, please contact:

Director of Business Development Rick Smith at 951.827.2792 or rick.smith@ucr.edu or Deputy Director Sherif Hanna at 951.827.2792 or sherif.hanna@ucr.edu.