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In most months, our office plans to post a summary of the state Employment Development Department’s monthly report on the California labor market. This post provides some background information on the broad nonfarm job sectors that our office tracks, which are listed below:

Health Care and Social Services. The defining characteristic of jobs in this sector is that the services are performed by trained health professionals or social workers. About a third of California jobs in this sector are in social assistance, which only includes nonresidential services. For example, nursing homes are under health care. About a quarter of health care jobs are in hospitals. Workers in publicly owned health facilities are classified under government, not health care.

Leisure and Hospitality. About 15 percent of California jobs in this sector are in the “arts, entertainment, and recreation” subsector, which includes amusement parks, spectator sports, performing arts, and museums among other things. Barely 10 percent are in hotels and motels, and the remainder are in restaurants and bars. Within the restaurant sector, the split between limited service (including fast food) and full-service is about 50-50.

Local Government. More than half of these jobs are in schools and community colleges, the others in counties, cities, special districts, and Indian tribes in descending order of numbers.

Retail Trade. Firms in this sector are set up to primarily sell goods in small quantities to households as opposed to other businesses. The biggest component of this sector is grocery stores, with a bit less than a fifth of the total. Auto dealers and gas stations are also included here.

Manufacturing. These firms transform raw materials and/or components bought from other firms into finished goods. In California more than 60 percent of manufacturing jobs are in durable goods that are intended to last three or more years, as opposed to nondurable goods. The biggest subsector by far is computer and electronic product manufacturing (which includes semiconductors and instruments) with over a fifth of the total. Other big subsectors include food processing, fabricated metals, and transportation equipment (mostly aerospace). It is important to note that sector classification is by firm, not by work site. The headquarters, research and development, and other activities of a manufacturing firm are all considered to be manufacturing jobs even if the work is done in an office or lab as opposed to a factory.

Professional and Technical Services. Firms in this sector generally perform highly specialized tasks that typically require a great deal of education. The largest subsector within this sector in California is computer systems design, with a bit over a fifth of the total. Other important subsectors in descending order of size include consulting, architecture and engineering, law, scientific research and development, and accounting.  

Administrative Services. By the official definition, this sector consists of firms that perform routine support activities for the day-to-day operations of other firms. Employment services including temporary help account for a bit less than half the jobs in this sector in California. Other large subsectors include building services (maintenance, custodial, etc.) and private security.

Financial Activities. A bit less than a third of California jobs in this sector are in banking, and about a quarter each in real estate and insurance. Most of the rest are in securities, or in rental and leasing.

Wholesale Trade. This may be the least visible sector of the economy. Wholesalers typically buy goods from producers and sell to other businesses including retailers. Electronic markets are also included here, and they account for about 15 percent of the jobs in this sector in California.

Construction. Firms that prepare sites for construction activity are included here. Nearly nine of every ten construction jobs in the state are in building construction. The others are mostly in utilities and roads.

Other Services. A bit over 40 percent of California jobs in this sector are in nonprofits, including churches. The rest are about evenly split between personal and laundry services, and maintenance and repair.

Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities. The transportation sector includes firms that move people and things by air, rail, water, road, and pipeline. The biggest subsector in California is trucking, although it has less than a quarter of the total jobs in the sector. Warehousing and storage, and couriers and messengers (such as Federal Express and UPS) are also fairly large. Utilities jobs (which include power, natural gas, water, and sewer systems) make up about a tenth of the total.

State Government. About half of these jobs are in the state university systems according to the official federal and state employment dataset and its definitions of state government employment.

Information. This sector includes firms that process data or produce and distribute information including cultural products, as well as those firms that provide the means to transmit information. More than a quarter of California information jobs are in the movie industry. Other large subsectors include telecommunications, internet publishing/web search, and software publishing.

Private Education. This sector includes training centers as well as academic schools. In California, there are more jobs in private colleges and universities than in private K-12 schools.

Federal Government. This includes the Post Office. About a quarter of these jobs are in the Department of Defense.

Management. This sector only includes firms that are specifically set up to manage other firms. Holding companies are a good example of this. (Jobs in the corporate headquarters of any firm are counted in whichever sector makes up the firm’s primary line of business: manufacturing, finance, health, etc.)

Mining and Logging. This sector covers all forms of mineral extraction including stone quarries. It also includes firms that, while not engaging in extraction themselves, provide support activities at extraction sites. Most California jobs in this sector are in the oil industry.


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