California COVID jobs rebound is far stronger than first thought


California’s recovery from the mammoth job losses unleashed by coronavirus-linked business shutdowns is far stronger than first thought, state government officials said Friday.

The estimates of the improved picture for the statewide job market arrived as part of a report that showed California gained 53,600 jobs during January, according to the state Employment Development Department.

The statewide unemployment rate was 5.8% in January, unchanged from December 2021, the EDD reported.

Over the one-year period that ended in January 2022, California posted a 7.4% increase in nonfarm payroll jobs, which greatly outpaced the nationwide increase of 4.6% during the same 12 months, according to the EDD’s report.

“California’s economic recovery last year was unprecedented,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

While the business shutdowns that began in March 2020 unleashed huge job losses, the governor believes the strategy was worth it — despite the wrenching blow to the economy.

“Our approach has been to follow the science while supporting those hardest hit by the pandemic,” Gov. Newsom said. “It not only saved tens of thousands of lives, it got our state back to work faster and better than the rest of the country.”

Despite the job gains and the improved employment picture in California, the state’s workers still face a forbidding landscape due to the runaway inflation that has savaged the economy.

The inflation rate of 5.2% in the Bay Area is rising at its highest annual pace in more than two decades, while the nationwide inflation rate of 7.9% marks that benchmark’s greatest yearly increase in four decades.



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