California accounted for nearly three out of every four nonfarm jobs created in the U.S. during February, according to data released Friday.
Employers in the state added 14,600 nonfarm payroll jobs last month, the California Employment Development Department reported Friday. Earlier this month, the U.S. government reported nonfarm payrolls in the U.S. rose by just 20,000 jobs in February, or the weakest national showing since September 2017.
"Whatever caused the nation as a whole to have a subpar job gain didn't have as much influence in California in February," said Aubrey Henry, a spokesman for the state's EDD agency.
Even so, Henry said California's February job gain was below trend for the state in terms of its average for the entire nine-year expansion. California — the fifth-largest economy in the world — has added more than 3.13 million jobs since the economic expansion began in February 2010.
The state official added that comparing California's share of the nation's job gains each month with its size in the national economy also shows many months when the state outperforms the nation and many when it lags.
"February 2019 stands out because California's job gain was large in relation to the nation's unusually small gain," he said. "You could just as easily look at January and ask why California's 5,900-job gain was so small relative to the nation's 311,000 job gain."
Still, Henry said it's perhaps more meaningful to look at trends over several months and not a single month such as February.
"The nation had a larger year-over job gain than California in February 2019, 1.7 percent to 1.3 percent," he said. "However, it is too soon to determine whether this is a temporary phenomenon or not. California has enjoyed stronger year-over job growth than the nation for the balance of the expansion."
Meantime, California's unemployment rate in February remained at 4.2 percent, the state reported Friday. That remains ahead of the U.S. unemployment rate, which was 3.8 percent in February.