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Labor stats show mixed recovery

By John Orona | Staff Writer

Nevada County’s labor force shrunk by more than 4% year over year in January, according to the state Employment Development Department.

The county’s labor force retracted by just under 2,000 workers, going from 48,770 in January 2020 to 46,780 this January, the latest month for which data is available.

While the county’s unemployment rate continues to be among the lowest in the state at 6.7%, that figure represents a 73% increase in unemployment year over year. Statewide, the unemployment rate was 9.2% in January.

The latest data shows an improvement from just two months earlier when there were less than 45,700 workers attributed to the county, but trends are still lagging pre-pandemic levels.

According to the data, the hardest hit industries throughout the year were service providers and state and local governments.

The service industry shrank more than 10%, reducing the labor force by more than 3,000 workers while state and local government lost nearly 1,000 workers, reducing that field by more than 12%.

Professional and business services was the only industry in the county to grow during that time, increasing just 1.3% or 30 jobs total.

The labor force data is made up of both employed and unemployed residents who are looking for work.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, estimates for February’s labor force participation rate — a measure of the labor force compared to the working-age population — was at 61%, a 2% decrease from last year.

People who were deemed long-term unemployed, jobless for more than 27 weeks, made up more than 41% of the total unemployment population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of discouraged workers, those who want a job but believe there is no work available for them, grew over 25% year over year nationally.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

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