California's unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in July, the lowest point since 1976, as employers in the nation's most populous state continued to defy expectations by adding 84,800 new jobs.
New numbers released Friday by the state's Employment Development Department, showing month-over-month job growth in 17 out of the last 18 months, suggest that California's labor market has so far been largely immune from record-high inflation nationwide and a cooldown in the housing market, both of which have prompted warnings of an economic slowdown.
Ten of California's 11 industry sectors had job growth in July, led by big gains in computer systems' design, advertising, security services and health care. While California makes up 11.7% of the nation's civilian labor force, the state accounted for 16.1% of all new jobs in the U.S. last month, according to Friday's report.
More than 18.5 million Californians were employed in July, an increase of nearly a million people since July 2021, according to the report. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed Californians in July — 758,700 — was down by some 648,000, as compared to last year.
That job gain in the state comes despite a decline in both job postings and sales of single-family homes — a major driver of California's economy — the latter slowing 14.4% in July compared to June, and down 31.1% from a year ago, according to the California Association of Realtors. California's housing market reflects an overall slowdown in home sales nationally, which declined in July for the sixth straight month.