California Labor Report (April 2024)

Star Staffing Labor Report

Each month, Star Staffing, a California-based staffing agency compiles new data and shares expert insights on the state of hiring in California. This labor report covers the most recent employment data from March 2024 (released in early April).

Pro tip: Sign up for our mailing list to receive next month’s labor report in your inbox as soon as it’s released.



Included in this Report

  1. Takeaways from experts on this month’s trends
  2. California labor highlights (unemployment rates, industry details, etc.)
  3. Interpreting the data
  4. This month’s work culture news 
  5. Detailed Report: California unemployment rates by county
  6. Detailed Report: California resignation rates
  7. California labor law news and policy changes (if applicable)
  8. Great reads and resources


Expert Takeaways


“[March] represents a virtuous cycle wherein strong job growth supports solid spending and spending supports jobs. Rinse and repeat!”

White House press release 


“Today’s [U.S.]  jobs report raises the possibility that rather than slowing down, job growth might be holding steady, but this strength is coming from sources that are more sustainable than those that fueled the burst of gains in 2021.”

– Nick Bunker, Indeed Hiring Lab’s economic research director for North America


California Labor Market Highlights


Statewide: 5.3%

MoM: Same as last month

YoY: Up 0.8% compared to March 2023


Other highlights:

  • The California jobs market continued to expand for its 47th month in a row by adding 28,300 jobs in March. (Source:


  • Construction gained 4,600 jobs last month thanks to better weather, meaning the industry is up by 33,900 in the last year (Source:


  • California’s current unemployment rate isn’t great news, according to the California Center for Jobs & the Economy. At 5.3% it’s now the highest in the United States and roughly 43% higher than our lowest month since the pandemic (August 2022).


  • The center also reported that California’s labor participation rate went down one point (62.0%) while the U.S. participation rate rose by two points (62.7%). 


Around the U.S.: 


  • The U.S. labor participation rate mentioned above (62.7%) is also a five-month high, mostly thanks to workers in the 18 to 24 age range.  (via J.P. Morgan jobs report)


  • The White House described March’s numbers as “a virtuous cycle wherein strong job growth supports solid spending and spending supports jobs. Rinse and repeat!”


[Back to table of contents]


Interpreting the Data

There’s not much good news for California this month, except our record streak of job gains. That said, while the labor force numbers are weakening, the rate at which they’re weakening is lower this month. Despite the state’s high unemployment rate, the LA Times reported on Friday that experts believe we’ll avoid a recession. Unemployment rates by county dropped across Northern California in the areas that Star Staffing services (see unemployment rates by county below).

[Back to table of contents]


Hiring & Work Culture Trends

  • According to the L.A. Times, economic experts believe that the state will avoid a recession despite California’s stubborn unemployment rate.


  • In a recent Robert Half survey, 42% of employers said their top hiring challenge is the lack of candidates applying for open roles, and 58% reported that it’s taking longer to hire for open roles compared to a year ago.



  • While the state has seen job gains MoM, new numbers reveal that the state added far fewer high-paying jobs than previously thought (Bloomberg).


  • California might lose its bragging rights as the world’s fifth-largest economy (via O.C. Register).


  • 65% of organizations plan to hire entry-level professionals in the first half of 2024 — great news for new grads. (via Robert Half).


[Back to table of contents]


Northern California Unemployment Rates by County


Alameda County: 4.6% (down from 5.0% MoM)

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


Marin County: 3.7% (down from 4.1)

Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, San Rafael


Napa County: 4.2% (down from 4.6%)

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


Sacramento County: 4.9% (down from 5.3%)

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


San Joaquin County: 7.1%  (down from 7.5%)

Stockton, Lodi, Tracy, Manteca, Ripon, Lathrop


Sonoma County: 4.2% (down from 4.5%)

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


Solano County: 5.3% (down from 5.7%)

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


Stanislaus County: 7.4% (down from 7.6%)

Ceres, Modesto, Oakdale, Patterson, Riverbank, Salida, Turlock


Yolo County: 5.8% (down from 6.1%)

Davis, West Sacramento, Woodland


Note: For Southern California unemployment rates, see


[Back to table of contents]


California Labor Law/Policy Changes (2024)


Minimum Wage Increase

California’s minimum wage increased to $16/hour on Jan. 1, 2024. (More details.)

Paid Sick Leave Increase

As of January 1, 2024, California’s paid sick leave law has been expanded. Employers must allow workers to use at least 40 hours or five days of paid sick leave per yea (up from 24 hours or three days). Some cities or regions in California may require employers to provide additional sick leave. (More details.)


[Back to table of contents]


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 annual recaps, extra California salary data, and hiring advice — don’t miss out! 

Star Staffing is a woman-owned, award-winning recruiting and temp hiring firm with 6 branch locations throughout California.

[Back to table of contents]