Economist: Nevada County job market could be outpacing employment |

Economist: Nevada County job market could be outpacing employment

A snapshot of what isgoing on in Nevada County's industries over the past month and past year.
Luis Alejo/


Reported unemployment rates January 2019.

Nevada County: 4.1%

California: 4.8%

United States: 4.4%

Total labor force

Employed in Nevada County: 47,930

Unemployed in Nevada County: 2,040

Change in jobs (Jan. 2018/2019): +560

Change in jobs (Dec. 2018/Jan. 2019): +80

Trade, Transportation & Utilities (Jan. 2018/2019): -100

Leisure & Hospitality” (Jan. 2018/2019): +190

Government (Jan. 2018/2019): +200

Source: California Economic Development Department

A higher unemployment rate is not always a bad thing. That’s at least according to Dr. Jeffrey Michael, director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of Pacific.

Michael was referring to the Nevada County January 2019 report, released by California’s Employment Development Department, which revealed an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, which represents an uptick over 3.3 percent in December.

The increased rate could indicate a growing job market, Michael said, as the labor force grew by 2.5 percent over the last year.

“That could be your reflection of a strong job market,” he said, adding Nevada County is not a rapidly growing area and that the job market’s expansion could be outpacing employment.

While 4.1 percent is lower than the January unemployment rate for California (4.2 percent), it is higher than that for U.S. (4.0 percent),

Either way, the job market’s change of 0.3 percent over the year, he said, was not significant.

“(The report) says that the county is holding about steady,” said Michael.

The state Employment Development Department on Friday said it has adjusted California’s December rate, originally put at 4.2 percent, but was revised back down to 4.1 percent, where it had been since September.

Though local and state numbers are not yet available for February, the national unemployment rate dipped to 3.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Approximately 20,000 jobs were created across the U.S. in February 2019. Nationally, employment increased in professional and business services, health care, and wholesale trade, but decreased in construction. National unemployment figures for March 2019 will be released April 5.


Over the past years, 560 jobs have been gained, most of them in the “Leisure and Hospitality” and “Government” sectors of Nevada County.

According to the report, “Government” was the largest employment sector locally with 6,740 jobs added, reflecting a 200 job increase from the prior year. That number doesn’t include the jump in government jobs from December to January.

“The increase of the 240 jobs over the month was specifically in local government,” said Luis Alejo, labor market consultant for the Employment Development Department.


Over the past year, there’s been a net loss of 100 jobs in the “Trade, Transportation, and Utilities” sector. From December to January, the biggest job losses were in “Mining, Logging and Construction.”

“In the winter you have weather issues,” said Alejo, explaining the losses in those sectors.

Alejo said this trend reveals the spike in Nevada County’s unemployment rate from below 3.5 percent to above 4 percent between December and January.

“It does make sense of why you would see the unemployment rates,” he said.


Cold weather doesn’t just hinder unemployment in Nevada County, but also in California, said Paul Wesson, senior economist at the Economic Development Department.

“You’ll see lulls in construction activity during the cold, wet weather,” said Wesson. Due to the seasonal change, the number of jobs drops significantly throughout the state.

“Unemployment always jumps in January,” said Wesson. “The number of jobs go down in California by about 300,000 every January.”

Contact Staff Writer Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or

Correction: The name of the California department that released the unemployment report was incorrect. The correct name is the Employment Development Department.

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