California unemployment rate falls to 5.4 percent in February
SACRAMENTO - The Associated Press
California’s economy roared to life in February as employers added a surprising 138,100 new jobs, accounting for more than 20 percent of all employment gains nationally in the United States.
“It’s a staggering jump,” said Michael Bernick, a former director of the state Employment Development Department who is now an attorney with the firm Duane Morris. “Virtually all sectors are showing gains.”
Ten of the state’s 11 industry sectors added jobs in February. The leisure and hospitality sector had the biggest jump, adding 30,400 jobs. Most of that happened in Los Angeles County, which is heading into its first somewhat normal tourism season since 2019. The county, which has an outsized number of service industry jobs, accounted for 44 percent of all job gains in the state.
California - the nation’s most populous state with nearly 40 million residents - was the first to issue a statewide stay-at-home order at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The state lost just over 2.7 million jobs in March and April of 2020 as its unemployment rate peaked at 16.1 percent.
The new data made public on March 25 by the California Employment Development Department showed that the state has now regained 87.2 percent of the jobs that were lost.
California’s unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent from 5.7 percent in January, giving the state the third highest rate in the country behind New Mexico and the District of Columbia. Nationally, the unemployment rate is 3.8 percent.