California Labor Report (March 2023)

California Labor Report

Note: This is an archive of last month’s labor report. Read Star’s current monthly labor report for the latest numbers, or subscribe using the big yellow button below to receive our free California labor and hiring report monthly in your inbox.

Each month, Star Staffing, an award-winning recruiting and temp hiring firm with locations throughout California, compiles new data and shares expert insights on the state of hiring in California. This labor report covers the most recent employment data for March 2023. (You can read last month’s labor report here.)



Included in this Report

  1. Expert Takeaways on This Month’s Trends
  2. Labor Market Highlights (The TLDR)
  3. What This Means for You
  4. California Unemployment Rates by County
  5. California Resignation Rates
  6. California Labor Law/Policy Changes (if applicable)
  7. Related Articles and Resources 


Expert Takeaways

“The hiring pace of last year is well behind us. But average payroll gains of 345,000 jobs in the past three months—more than triple the pace needed to keep up with population growth—is nothing to sneeze at.” – Nick Bunker, Indeed


“Although the pace of growth in the US labor market has decreased somewhat, there are no signs that it has come to a complete halt; rather, all indications suggest that it is simply decelerating.”– Nicole Serres, President of Star Staffing


Labor Market Highlights (The TL:DR)

  • California’s unemployment rate remained the same in March 2023 at 4.4%, but that number is 1.7% higher than it was before the pandemic!


  • That said, in the past three months, there has been a decline in California payroll jobs (from 96,700 jobs added in January to 32,300 jobs added in February to 8,700 jobs added in March) signaling that we might be deaccelerating in California.


  • California’s nonfarm payroll employment rose by 8,700 in March.


  • Six of California’s 11 industry sectors gained jobs in March with Private Education and Health Services leading the way.



  • The greater Sacramento area has some of the strongest employment growth in the state. At 3.7% employment growth relative to pre-pandemic levels, it’s 2 percentage points higher than statewide. The Public Policy Institute of California attributes this to recovery in health, professional services, and transportation and warehousing have contributed the most to job gains.  


  • According to ABC News, citing minutes from the March meeting of the US Federal Reserve, the Fed’s staff has grown increasingly worried about the country entering a recession in the wake of the recent banking crisis. It now anticipates a mild recession later this year. This more pessimistic view contrasts with the public comments made by Chairman Jerome Powell after the same meeting, in which he stated that the possibility of a recession was uncertain.


Hiring & Work Culture Trends

  • Employers are hiring faster. According to CareerPlug’s hiring data gathered from over 16,000 employers, 71% of employers contacted applicants within 24 hours of applying and 46% of employers scheduled interviews within 48 hours. In this competitive landscape, we recommend making a hiring decision within 10 days of the posting.


  • A recent survey by talent platform Fiverr found that 77% of US workers who were impacted by layoffs plan to explore a new industry, while many are also considering freelance work.


  • A survey by The Harris Poll found that 70% of US hiring managers prefer to reskill their current employees for different roles rather than hiring new workers, as they face labor and skills shortages.


  • Job postings on Indeed with employer-provided salary information increased by 137% over the last three years. The surge in salary information being displayed on job postings is attributed mainly to transparency legislation and the tight labor market in the US. This trend is expected to continue rising.



  • Hiring increased month-over-month in 8 of 20 industries, according to LinkedIn. The biggest gains were in Agriculture (Farming), Ranching and Forestry (+11.7% M/M). Utilities (+5.8%) and Oil, Gas and Mining (+4.2%) also saw impressive gains.


  • The Bay Area was one of the U.S. metropolitan areas gaining the most people in the last year, also according to LinkedIn, along with Austin, TX and Seattle, WA. It’s all in the California family, though: Most of San Francisco’s new residents came from Los Angeles. Meanwhile, people are leaving Portland, OR, Washington D.C., and Columbus, OH at the highest rates.


  • That said, hiring in the Bay Area was down 35.9% in March 2023 compared to March 2022. (If you need help with your hiring, we can help. Contact us!) Los Angeles saw a softer decline in hiring (26.7% year-over-year) and was up by 1% compared to February 2023.


Other Labor News Worth Noting




California Unemployment Rates


Statewide: 4.4%

MoM: stayed the same

YoY: same rate as March 2022 (4.4%)


Other highlights: California added 8,700 nonfarm payroll jobs and total payroll jobs increased slightly last month, nearing 18 million. Year over year, every industry experienced growth except for two: information technology (down 1,800) and construction (down 7,300).


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California Unemployment Rates by County

Sonoma County: 3.6% (same as Feb. 2023)

  • Sonoma
  • Santa Rosa
  • Petaluma
  • Healdsburg
  • Rohnert Park
  • Sebastopol
  • Windsor
  • Bodega Bay


Marin County: 3.1% (same as Feb. 2023)

  • Larkspur
  • Mill Valley
  • Novato
  • San Rafael


Napa County: 3.6% (down 0.1%)

  • Napa
  • Yountville
  • St. Helena
  • Calistoga
  • American Canyon
  • Angwin


Solano County: 4.8%  (up 0.1%)

  • Fairfield
  • Vacaville
  • Vallejo
  • Benicia
  • Suisun City
  • Dixon
  • Rio Vista


Yolo County: 5.1% (up 0.1%)

  • Davis
  • West Sacramento
  • Woodland


Sacramento County: 4.5% (same as Feb. 2023)

  • Sacramento
  • Elk Grove
  • Rancho Cordova
  • Folsom
  • Citrus Heights
  • Fair Oaks


San Joaquin County: 6.6%  (up 0.2%)

  • Stockton
  • Lodi
  • Tracy
  • Manteca
  • Ripon
  • Lathrop


Stanislaus County: 6.9% (up 0.3%)

  • Ceres
  • Modesto
  • Oakdale
  • Patterson
  • Riverbank
  • Salida
  • Turlock


Alameda County: 3.8% (up 0.1%)

  • Alameda
  • Oakland
  • Hayward
  • Berkeley
  • San Leandro
  • Livermore
  • Pleasanton
  • Dublin


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California Resignation Rates

Statewide in February 2023: 2.10%

Statewide in last 12 Months: 2.34%

Overall rank: 7th lowest in the country (source)

Other highlights: This piece from the OC Register called “California Fairs Well Amidst a Great Recession” speaks to why we’ve seen such low resignation rates in early 2023! 


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California Labor Law/Policy Changes

Minimum Wage Changes

As of January 1, 2023, the minimum wage is $15.50/hour for all employers in California. Some cities and counties have higher minimum wages than the state’s rate. Fun fact: Mountain View has the highest minimum wage in the state at $18.15/hour. Here is the full list.


Overtime for Agriculture Workers

Also as of January 1, 2023 employers with 25 or fewer employees must pay agriculture workers overtime after 9 hours per day or 50 hours per week. For employers with 26 or more employees (since January 1, 2022), overtime starts after 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.


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Related Articles and Resources

From Star Staffing

Here are a few of the articles we published on hiring trends and California labor last month.


Don’t forget to sign up to receive our monthly labor report in your inbox as soon as it launches. Newsletter subscribers get access to special reports, including our annual recaps and extra California salary data and hiring advice — don’t miss out! 

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