State hits 30-year unemployment low

The Associated Press
Saturday February 24, 2001

SACRAMENTO — The state’s unemployment rate hit a 30-year low last month as the state’s economic boom continues, the state reported Friday. 

The state unemployment rate for January was 4.5 percent, down from 4.7 percent in December, said the state Employment Development Department. 

The next-lowest unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in December 1969, although different calculation methods were used to determine the jobless rate then. 

An EDD survey showed that about 16.5 million people had jobs in California last month, the highest number ever employed in the state. That was up by 31,000 from December and by 441,000 from January 2000. 

There were 784,000 people unemployed last month, a decline of 32,000 from December and 48,000 over the year. 

That is the lowest number of people unemployed since February 1990, when it was 775,000, the department said. 


Of those jobless, 447,800 were laid off, 98,300 left jobs voluntarily and the rest were new entrants or re-entrants into the job market. 

The service industry experienced a loss of 40,400 jobs in January, with most declines in business, engineering, management, educational, recreation and health services. 

Retail trade employment declined by more than expected for the winter season. About 5,400 jobs were cut along with the 121,700 expected for the post-holiday season, the department said. 

Three industry divisions — mining, transportation and public utilities — added jobs last month. 

However, the good employment news was not shared equally around the state. San Mateo County had the lowest jobless rate at 1.5 percent, followed by Santa Clara County at 1.6 percent and Marin County was at 1.7 percent. 

The highest rate was 29.1 percent in Colusa County, followed by Imperial County at 21.4 percent and Merced County at 17.6 percent.