California employers added 140,400 non-agricultural jobs in July, as the state appears to be making a slow improvement from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state’s unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent, down 1.6 percent from June but well above the four percent of July 2019, according to data released by the state Employment Development Department.
Government payrolls added 36,000 jobs in July, the most for any sector. Most of those were state government positions.
Retail added 28,800 jobs in July, the result of some establishments reopening because of the state relaxing its COVID-19 restrictions regarding large public gatherings. Health Care and “other services” added 23,700 and 17,300 jobs, respectively.
Construction dropped 14,800 jobs last month, the only sector to report a job loss.
“The addition of over 140,000 jobs in July is certainly a positive sign,” said Taner Osman, research manager at the UC Riverside Center for Economic Forecasting, in a statement. “But to place this figure in context, if we continue to add jobs at the same rate as in July, it will take until July 2021 to return the state’s labor market to the position it was in in February 2020.”
February’s jobs report was the last one untouched by COVID-19.
The Inland Empire added 7,200 jobs between June and July but remained 9.5 percent below its July 2019 jobs rate, according to the data.