November 2017,  OneVoice CSDA Newsletter

The Healthy State of the U.S. and California Job Market: A Snapshot of Economic Indicators

From the West Information Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. As an independent statistical agency, BLS serves its diverse user communities by providing products and services that are objective, accurate, relevant, and timely.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has provided this information for the Child Support Directors Association of California as the first of a series of articles describing the labor market and price changes in California. We hope you find the following information useful:

The latest labor market data show that both employment and unemployment have recovered since the Great Recession, with employment being at an all-time high and the unemployment rate below 5% (see charts 1 and 2).

Temporary help services, which play a large role in workforce adjustment during recessions and recoveries, also continue to experience employment growth (see chart 3). During the past three recessions, employment in temporary help services exhibited declines prior to a contraction in the U.S. labor market. Hence, the fact that temporary help services are continuing to expand is a positive sign for the overall job market.

Among industry sectors, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality have had the largest employment growth during the past year, with both industries averaging monthly job gains of more than 40,000 (see chart 4). The average weekly wage across the U.S. for professional and business services workers is $1,346, among the highest for all sectors; meanwhile, leisure and hospitality workers earn $432 per week, lowest among the sectors.

In California, jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry pay $542 weekly and account for 13.1% of statewide private industry employment. The natural resource and mining industry, led by farming, has the highest concentration of jobs in California relative to the nation—over double the U.S. average (see chart 5).

*Location quotient is a measure of concentration. A value of 1.0 indicates employment concentration in local area is equal to the rest of the nation.

While natural resources and mining is the largest industry sector in California, retail salespersons is the largest individual occupation with over 440,000 workers (see chart 6). Among the 10 largest occupations in California, only registered nurses and general and operations managers average over $17.00 per hour in pay.

With the diversity that California offers, industries and occupations can vary significantly by geographic area. For example, farmworkers are the largest occupation in the Central Valley, while software developers comprise the largest occupation in the Silicon Valley.

To see what industries and occupations are unique to your area or to access your local employment and unemployment data, visit or contact the BLS Western Information Office at

Return to Newsletter