SAN FRANCISCO – The national and state job market continues to confuse even the best experts as pointed out by the latest figures.
The country gained 199,000 jobs in October, above estimates but below the monthly average for the year. California accounts for 40,000 of those jobs, 20 percent of the nation’s new jobs, more than a percent of the national workforce.
Michael Bernick, former EDD Director and current employment attorney at the Duane Morris law firm in San Francisco, saw this way.
“In California and nationally the job numbers continue to defy gravity and defy all expectations,” Bernick said.
Although the national unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, California’s rate was higher at 4.8%.
“In fact, it’s the second highest rate in the state among the states,” Bernick said.
The number of layoffs and voluntary layoffs remained stable.
“Job openings are down significantly from 10.8 million to below 10 million but more than the pandemic numbers,” Bernick said.
The number of seasonal hirings did not change the eye numbers because retailers and shippers are worried about the decrease in holiday spending.
“Surprisingly, they show retail hiring is flat,” Bernick said.
Shipping and warehouse operations lost jobs; not much, but amazing for the holiday season. The big winners in hiring: health care and government jobs.
So, with jobs defying economic stress, why do so many people feel the economy is worse? Bernick blamed this on consumer prices compared to 2020.
“The rate of inflation has decreased, but, prices are still 19 percent above where they will be in 2020,” Bernick said.
Although we’ve had healthy wage gains since 2020, those gains haven’t risen higher than inflation.