The October California jobs report was released November 20. The statewide unemployment rate increased from 12.3 in September to 12.5 percent in October. We are encouraged by the slight uptick in payroll job counts in October. However, there are still 4.6 percent fewer jobs than a year ago and 6.3 percent fewer than two years ago.

The unemployment rate dispersion indicates dramatic heterogeneity across California regions. Areas that are farther from the large job-centers and areas that are farther from the coast have noticeably higher unemployment rates. The table below shows the data from selected counties or MSAs around the state. The unemployment rate varies from a low of 9.0 percent for Napa County to a high of 17.6 percent for the Yuba City MSA.

California is a state with plenty of regional areas where economic growth is restricted. It is interesting to wonder if this recession would be kinder to “pro-growth” areas, but the unemployment data do not appear to support this hypothesis. Instead, the data shown here support the idea that California’s regional differences are more easily summed up by 2 regions split east-west rather than north-south.


Central Valley

Bakersfield MSA 14.5 %
Fresno County 15.8 %
Merced County 16.4 %
Modesto MSA 16.6 %
Sacramento MSA 12.8 %
Stockton MSA 16.1 %
Yuba City MSA 17.6 %

Southern California

Los Angeles County 12.6 %
Orange County 9.6 %
Riverside-S.B. MSA 14.6 %
San Diego County 10.5 %

Bay Area

Oakland MD 11.5 %
Napa County 9.0 %
San Francisco MD 9.3 %
Santa Clara MSA 11.9 %
Santa Cruz County 10.7 %
Sonoma County 10.1 %