Unemployment rate in California. Photo credit: wycokck.org.

The unemployment rate in San Diego County decreased to 4.6% in November, down from a revised 5.3% in October and below the year- ago estimate of 6.8%, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

This compares with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.4% for California — which decreased from 6.1% in October — and 3.9% for the nation — down from October’s 4.3% — during the same period.

Between October and November, nonfarm employment increased by 15,000, from 1,445,600 to 1,460,600, according to EDD figures. Agricultural employment decreased from 9,400 to 9,200.

Trade, transportation and utilities led all industries with 7,300 jobs gained.

“San Diego’s labor market is strong,” said Daniel Enemark, senior economist at the San Diego Workforce Partnership. “Unsurprisingly as we ramp up for the holiday season, November employment gains were strongest in retail, but opportunity abounds in every sector.”

Employment in educational and health services increased by 3,700. Health care and social assistance were responsible for 76% of the growth, or 2,800 jobs.

Job gains were also recorded in government with 1,700, leisure and hospitality with 1,700, professional and business services with 1,300, and other services with 1,200. Employment remained unchanged in information and mining and logging.

Phil Blair, executive officer of Manpower West, said the county’s labor participation continues at a very low rate while the number of available jobs remains high.

“San Diegans are comfortable staying out of the job market until the right job, at the right pay, and at the right time comes along,” Blair said. “How long workers can hold out is a personal decision, but we know pay and flexibility are the key considerations.”

The power of labor appears to be on an upswing, with more jobs available than there are applicants to fill them.

“Companies continue struggling to find workers as people are spending record amounts of time weighing their job options,” said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University. “People may now look for the stability and security of a payroll position at least to supplement their self-employed gigs.”

Financial activities registered the most significant job decline over the month with 1,100 jobs lost, followed by manufacturing — down 500 — and construction — down 300.

In year-over-year numbers, nonfarm employment increased by 64,900 jobs, a gain of 4.6%.

The largest gainer was leisure and hospitality, with 28,500 jobs added to payrolls between November 2020 and November 2021. Of those, 23,900 were in accommodation and food services.

Professional and business services gained 10,800 over the year, along with 9,200 in other services, 6,100 in educational and health services, 4,900 in construction, 4,500 in government, 2,000 in trade, transportation, and utilities, 1,200 in information and 100 in mining and logging. Year-over-year employment losses occurred in financial activities — down 2,300 — and manufacturing — down 100.

Updated at 3:38 p.m. December 17, 2021

–City News Service