Department of Numbers

California Unemployment

According to the BLS current population survey (CPS), the unemployment rate for California fell 0.5 percentage points in February 2021 to 8.5%. The state unemployment rate was 2.3 percentage points higher than the national rate for the month. The unemployment rate in California peaked in April 2020 at 16.0% and is now 7.5 percentage points lower. You can also see California unemployment compared to other states.

Unemployment Rate February 2021 Month/Month Year/Year
National 6.2% -0.1 +2.7
California 8.5% -0.5 +4.2

Note: All comparisons are made with February data as March state level unemployment data has not yet been released.

Unemployment Rate: California, National

California monthly unemployment rate chart from 1990 to February 2021

Note: Recessions shown in gray

California Unemployed

The number of people unemployed in California peaked in April 2020 at 2,966,435. There are now 1,356,232 fewer people unemployed in the state. California job growth data is also available.

Unemployed Persons February 2021 Month/Month Year/Year
California 1,610,203 -69,637 +764,910

Number of Unemployed Persons

Monthly chart of total unemployed in California from 1990 to February 2021

California Unemployment History

Date National
Unemployment Rate
California
Unemployment Rate
California
Unemployed
March 2021 6.0%
February 2021 6.2% 8.5% 1,610,203
January 2021 6.3% 9.0% 1,679,840
December 2020 6.7% 9.3% 1,748,456
November 2020 6.7% 8.7% 1,620,723
October 2020 6.9% 9.8% 1,854,378
September 2020 7.8% 10.6% 1,950,055
August 2020 8.4% 12.3% 2,301,320
July 2020 10.2% 13.2% 2,463,494
June 2020 11.1% 14.1% 2,652,106
May 2020 13.3% 15.6% 2,863,209
April 2020 14.8% 16.0% 2,966,435