Calif. unemployment rate falls below 9 percent

Calif. jobless rate dips below 9 percent for first time since 2008 amid post-recession rebound

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California's unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in May, marking the first time in nearly five years the jobless number has dipped below 9 percent, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

The drop in May — a decrease of 0.4 percentage points from 9 percent in April — puts California's unemployment rate at the lowest level since November 2008.

While California's rate continues to remain 1 percentage point above the national average of 7.6 percent, the state's improving labor market has narrowed the gap.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, California and West Virginia reported the largest declines in unemployment among all states. California also has seen the largest drop in unemployment among the states over the past 12 months.

State officials reported a non-farm jobs gain of 10,800 during May for a total gain of more than 767,000 since the economy began to rebound in February 2010.

Roughly 1.6 million Californians remain unemployed, down 364,000 from May of last year.

California hit a high of 12.4 percent unemployment for much of 2010 but has seen steady job gains since then. It now is tied with New Jersey for the sixth highest unemployment rate in the nation, according to the Labor Department. Nevada has the highest rate, followed by Illinois and Mississippi, Rhode Island and North Carolina.

In another indication of the state's reviving financial fortunes, the state Department of Finance on Friday released its monthly bulletin that showed tax collections in California running 1 percent, or nearly $1 billion, ahead of projections for the fiscal year.

The department said housing starts have accelerated while the prices of existing homes for sale have been rising.

The state reported there were nearly 18,000 fewer Californians receiving unemployment insurance benefits in May compared to the previous month, even though the number of new claims rose by 3,500.

The number of Californians holding jobs continues to grow, but the recent gains may be deceiving, said Michael Bernick, a former Employment Development Department director who is now with the law firm Sedgwick LLP in San Francisco. The latest figures show 17 million Californians holding jobs in May, up 529,000 from the same period last year.

"The increase is not in payroll jobs; it's people who say they're employed as either independent contractors or self-employed," Bernick said. "Now, that may be very positive in the sense of new business formation, but it may be a lot of these people who are marginally holding on."

The state also saw the greatest monthly gains in the leisure and hospitality industry, which tends to have low-wage jobs, he said.

Six other categories, including manufacturing, trade, financial activities, professional services, government, and education and health added 37,400 jobs. Mining, construction and information were down 26,600 jobs over the month.

The gains vary greatly among regions. While the Northern California coastal county of Marin had the state's lowest unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, Imperial County in the southeast corner of the state held the highest at 22.8 percent.

California's economy still has a way to go before it can match the state's historic low unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in January 2001, the middle of the tech boom.

Rates

View Comments (120)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • Our Best-Ever Value Plan for Your Business

    New prices on our Mobile Share Value Plans on the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network.

    AdChoicesAT&T® Small BusinessSponsored
  • Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia

    Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia MOSCOW (AP) — The arrest of a Russian telecoms and oil tycoon has sent shock waves through the country's business community, with some fearing a return to the dark days of a decade ago, when the Kremlin asserted its power by imprisoning the country's…

    Associated Press
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • As Fed takes baby steps, Cramer's trick for profit

    In turn, Cramer says making money in the market, involves looking at the environment through the lens of the Fed. "The trick is to remember that they speak for the common person," Cramer said. "The Fed wants the common person to make money." With that backdrop always in mind, Cramer says it becomes…

    CNBC
  • Costco Stores in Canada to Stop Taking American Express

    “The credit card relationship between American Express and Costco Wholesale Canada will not be renewed when it expires” on Dec. 31, the company said today in an e-mail to Canadian customers. The message was attributed to Lorelle Gilpin, vice president of marketing and membership for Costco…

    Bloomberg
  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • Life Insurance Doesn't Have To Be Complicated

    We'll help you understand the basics. Create your personalized estimate with USAA Life Insurance Company. Life brings obstacles, We bring advice.

    AdChoicesUSAASponsored
  • CNBC Anchor Calls Out Fed-Hater Bill Fleckenstein In Startling Shouting Match

    CNBC Bill Fleckenstein of Fleckenstein Capital appeared on CNBC's Futures Now program on Tuesday. Futures Now host Jackie DeAngelis came out swinging, asking Fleckenstein right at the top if he was willing to admit that he had misunderstood monetary policy. Sounding taken aback, Fleckenstein…

    Business Insider
  • Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court

    Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors seeking to put the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies in prison for hiding millions in Swiss bank accounts told appellate court judges Wednesday that the toymaker's sentence of probation threatens to erode the…

    Associated Press
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

    Reuters
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Embraer to sell 50 E-175 jets to Republic in $2.1 billion deal

    Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday it booked a firm order from U.S. The deal, which will be included in Embraer's order book for the third quarter, is valued at $2.1 billion, the planemaker said in a securities filing. The planes will be operated…

    Reuters
  • Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks

    Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks Gilead Sciences (GILD) shares are backsliding Wednesday on news that the patient drop-out rate for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is quadruple that of clinical trials. In addition, the biotech's Phase 2 study results

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Start a Family Tradition of Savings with USAA

    USAA auto insurance rates beat the competition 4 out of 5 times. When you switch to USAA you can save an average of $426 a year. Get a quote today.

    AdChoicesUSAASponsored
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • Play

    What the Fed Meeting Means for Bonds

    Janet Yellen & Co. are expected to hint at their timetable for raising interest rates. Here's how investors should prepare ahead of the meeting.

    WSJ Live
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • 10 rock-solid stocks for conservative investors

    10 rock-solid stocks for conservative investors Shares with low volatility can beat their indexes with less risk Bloomberg News/Landov U.S. Bancorp is the cheapest S&P 500 stock

    MarketWatch
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More

    Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More Stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome. Tuesday’s rally may have sparked higher interest again, and investors are looking for bargains

    24/7 Wall St.
  • 1 Tip To Lose Belly Fat

    It's Hollywood's Hottest Diet And Gets Rid Of Stubborn Fat Areas Like Nothing Else.

    AdChoicesagoodcooksSponsored
  • 6 Things Debt Collectors Wish You Knew

    The work debt collectors do is not popular, and has become increasingly derided by those who don’t like what we do or simply don’t know the facts about debt collection. Too often, debt collection is painted with a broad brush to create a portrait that isn’t accurate, and doesn’t properly educate…

    Credit.com