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California growth continues in March despite labor shortage – Press Telegram

By ADAM BEAM

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) – California employers added 60,200 jobs in March as the number of unemployed in the country’s most populous state fell below 1 million for the first time since the pandemic began.

March 2020 was the start of an unprecedented job loss in California, when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the first state order to stay home. The state lost 2,758,900 jobs in just two months. The state spent two years recovering most of them.

New figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the California Department of Employment Development show that the state recovered 2,463,400 of those jobs lost during the pandemic, or 89.2%. California accounted for 14% of employment growth nationwide in March, as the state recorded gains in 13 of the last 14 months.

“Today’s report is good news for California’s continued economic recovery, which represents thousands of new opportunities for workers across the state,” Newsom said.

The huge growth in state employment has been driven by rising consumer demand, which has more money to spend thanks to millions of dollars in state and federal government spending during the pandemic. Much of that government support is over, which could signal a tightening labor market in the coming months.

“Everyone else is going to say this is a great work report and it’s strong. But I think it’s important to recognize in part what it’s built on, and that bill is going to come,” said Michael Bernick, a former director of the Department of Employment Development that closely monitors the California labor market as a lawyer for the Duane Law Firm. Morris.

Business owners have consistently complained of difficulties in hiring workers to keep up with demand. The shortage has raised workers’ wages, gains that have been offset by rising inflation that has increased the costs of food, gasoline and other products.

The California workforce, defined as the number of people who have a job or are looking for work, has grown by nearly 350,000 people in the last year, usually a strong sign of economic recovery. But the state’s workforce is still nearly 400,000 people below the pre-pandemic high, Bernick said.

“Despite the healthy March report, the main problem remains labor shortages. Some workers are in no hurry to return to work, “wrote Sung Won Sohn, a professor of economics at Loyola Marymount University, in an email discussing new jobs. field. In the process, the link between jobs and where they live has weakened, contributing to the relatively low participation rate.

In San Francisco, restaurants have had trouble hiring managers or workers with cooking experience, said Amy Cleary, director of public policy and media relations for the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. She said the pace of pandemic closures meant restaurants were closing and opening at about the same time, putting them in competition with the same group of workers.

In addition, it is suspected that many restaurant workers found employment in other industries during the pandemic and did not return. She said diners did not return to San Francisco restaurants in numbers comparable to other parts of the state, but that they saw short periods of intense demand during the NCAA tournament and potentially again this weekend with the NBA playoffs.

“It’s definitely hard to accommodate these booms because most places have to operate with little staff,” he said.

Although California has outpaced the rest of the country in job growth, it still has a disproportionate number of people applying for unemployment benefits. Last week, California, which accounts for about 11 percent of the country’s workforce, accounted for more than 20 percent of new jobless claims nationwide.

Still, California’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in March, as 10 of the state’s 11 industrial sectors added jobs for the second month in a row. The biggest gains came back in the leisure and hospitality industry, which had the biggest losses during the pandemic as state regulations prevented people from gathering in public places like restaurants and bars.

Professional and business services added the second-youngest jobs, driven by increases in accounting, tax preparation and accounting services, as people prepared to file their 2021 income tax returns before the deadline of Monday presentation.

California growth continues in March despite labor shortage – Press Telegram Source link California growth continues in March despite labor shortage – Press Telegram

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