Department of Numbers

California Unemployment

According to the BLS current population survey (CPS), the unemployment rate for California fell 0.1 percentage points in May 2021 to 7.9%. The state unemployment rate was 2.1 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 8.1 percentage points lower. You can also see California unemployment compared to other states.

Unemployment Rate May 2021 Month/Month Year/Year
National 5.8% -0.3 -7.5
California 7.9% -0.1 -7.7

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

Unemployment Rate: California, National

California monthly unemployment rate chart from 1990 to May 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 1,476,824 fewer people unemployed in the state. California job growth data is also available.

Unemployed Persons May 2021 Month/Month Year/Year
California 1,489,611 -27,061 -1,373,598

Number of Unemployed Persons

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

California Unemployment History

Date National
Unemployment Rate
California
Unemployment Rate
California
Unemployed
June 2021 5.9%
May 2021 5.8% 7.9% 1,489,611
April 2021 6.1% 8.0% 1,516,672
March 2021 6.0% 8.3% 1,579,280
February 2021 6.2% 8.5% 1,610,021
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