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Regional California Jobs Report: ‘Location, Location, Location’

San Diego County CADwight Johnston, chief economist for the California Credit Union League, made the following comments on the California Employment Development Department’s (EDD) nonfarm payrolls employment report released late last week for all counties statewide:

  • “It’s not just real estate that lives and dies by the mantra ‘location, location, location.’ It’s the jobs market too. California has continued to add jobs at a healthy pace in the major regional sectors, and the unemployment rates in those areas have plummeted to some eye-popping lows.”
  • “Most regions in the Bay Area are posting unemployment rates from 2 – 3 percent. Orange County, San Diego and the Los Angeles area are mostly between 3 – 4 percent. Even the once-devastated Inland Empire region has seen its unemployment rate drop from a high of 14.4 percent in 2010 to near 4 percent most recently. This defies the traditional definition of ‘full employment’.”
  • “In other areas of California there has been much improvement, but many of their local unemployment rates remain high. Regions and counties within the Central Valley are all 7-percent plus, and the area near the Mexican border continues to struggle with an unemployment rate of almost 20 percent.”
  • “There is nothing to suggest these regional conditions will change, but we should be on alert for a slowdown in job creation in the low-unemployment areas across California. That is simply because the labor market is so tight right now. Employers in all sectors throughout most of the state are reporting difficulty in finding workers despite wages rising at almost twice the national average. With high and escalating housing costs, it will be almost impossible for businesses to attract any workers other than those on the very high end of the pay scale with unique talents.”
  • “Nonfarm payrolls in California rose in 2017, but at a slower pace than the preceding five years because of the tight labor situation. I would expect a further slowdown in job growth in 2018. On the bright side, workers should enjoy a stronger year for wage gains.”

About The California Credit Union League

The California Credit Union League is based in Ontario, CA and is the state trade association for 318 credit unions headquartered in California (as of third-quarter 2017). The League represents the interests of 11.4 million credit union members across the state who are member-owners of their credit unions. Credit unions help consumers afford life and prosper!

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