SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Teachers and public school staff returning to class in August fueled another impressive month of job gains in California, as officials said on Friday the state added 104,300 jobs additional as part of its march to erase an unprecedented pandemic employment deficit.
Government jobs accounted for nearly 45% of all job gains in California in August, reflecting the start of the public school year and the billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief money that poured into governments state and local.
Since February, California has gained 110,600 new jobs on average per month, according to the California Employment Development Department. Nationally, employers created 235,000 jobs in August, meaning 44% of those gains occurred in California alone.
“We still have work to do to recoup the jobs lost to the pandemic, but it promises progress for California’s economic recovery,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.
While California set records for the number of new jobs created this year, data shows that was not enough to regain the jobs the state lost. California’s unemployment rate, which was at an all time high before the pandemic, is now the second highest in the country at 7.5%, behind Nevada.
This suggests that while California has created a lot of jobs, more people are still looking.
“Job creation has not been enough to explain the increase in the workforce in the state, so I would say we need to create more jobs,” said Sung Won Sohn, professor of finance and economics at Loyola Marymount University which is closely monitoring the situation in California. the job market.
California has so many jobs to recover because it lost so many jobs at the start of the pandemic. The state cut more than 2.7 million jobs in March and April 2020, when Newsom issued the first statewide coronavirus stay-at-home order.
Just over 1.6 million of those jobs have since returned, representing 62.1% of the losses. This suggests that many workers have yet to return to their pre-pandemic jobs, which is why many employers have reported difficulty finding enough workers.
This problem has been most visible in the leisure and hospitality industry, where some restaurateurs have said they are struggling to keep up with demand.
The evidence is anecdotal, but it does suggest that some workers without family economic pressures decided not to return to jobs in the hospitality industry by paying less than $ 20 an hour, said Michael Bernick, lawyer for Duane Morris and former State Director for Employment Development. Department.
“One scenario is that companies in these areas are turning to business models that require fewer workers. We’ve seen this in California before, ”Bernick said.
The hotel and restaurant industry saw the biggest job gains in California this year, but data for August shows the pace of hiring has slowed. The industry added just over 33,000 jobs in August after creating an average of over 61,000 new jobs per month between February and July.
But people could be more motivated to return to work in September. Extended federal unemployment benefits ended earlier this month, meaning millions of Californians lost their weekly unemployment checks when their eligibility expired.
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