Don’t be fooled by the new California jobs report out Friday that shows statewide unemployment falling below six percent for the first time in nearly a decade. The state added almost no jobs last month – and 125,000 people stopped looking for work.
The headline looks great: California’s unemployment rate dipped below six percent in September and is now the lowest it’s been since November 2007.
But not so fast.
“The main reason unemployment dropped from 6.1 to 5.9 percent was the drop in the labor force,” says Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi.
Indeed, 125,000 California job-seekers were so discouraged that they couldn’t find work, they simply stopped looking. In fact, the state added just 8,200 jobs last month:
“That’s dismal,” Adibi says. ”That’s very paltry job growth by any standard.”Nationwide data on labor force participation tell the same tale: