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- Definition: Estimated number of unemployed persons in the total labor force ages 16 and older (e.g., in 2015, an estimated 1,183,200 Californians in the labor force were unemployed).Estimated percentage of unemployed persons in the total labor force ages 16 and older (e.g., in 2015, an estimated 6.2% of the California labor force was unemployed).
- Data Source: California Employment Development Dept., Labor Market Information Division (Jun. 2016); U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics Including the National Unemployment Rate (Jun. 2016).
- Footnote: Data are not seasonally-adjusted. Data are displayed for geographies with at least 10,000 people based on 2014 population estimates. LNE (Low Number Event) refers to data that have been suppressed because there were fewer than 20 people unemployed. N/A means that data are not available.
- Measures of Unemployment on Kidsdata.org
Kidsdata.org provides the number and percentage of unemployed people in the labor force (ages 16 and older). Data are available at the national, state, county, and city levels. California data come from a statewide survey of households, which counts a person as unemployed if he/she does not have a job, is able and available to work, and has looked for a job in the week that includes the 12th of the month. The same survey counts as employed any person who worked one hour or more during the week in question. U.S. data come from the Current Population Survey. In this survey, persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work. Persons who were not working and were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been temporarily laid off are also included as unemployed.
Data are also available for children living in households without secure parental employment, where no parent worked at least 35 hours per week, at least 50 weeks in the 12 months prior to the survey. These data are provided for regions with 65,000+ residents as 1-year estimates, and for regions of 10,000+ residents and legislative districts as 5-year estimates.For more information on the definitions of employed and unemployed, see the California Employment Development Department’s glossary of terms and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ glossary. The unemployment rate does not count “discouraged workers,” the term used for those who have stopped seeking work because they do not believe that they will find a job. Nor does it gauge underemployment, which exists when a person who works part-time would prefer to work full-time. Receiving benefits from the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program has no bearing on whether a person is classified as unemployed.
- Births to Unmarried Women (California & U.S. Only)
- Child Population, by County
- Child Population, by City, School District and County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Children in Rural and Urban Areas (California & U.S. Only)
- Public School Enrollment
- Total Population
- Family Income and Poverty
- Children in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty
- Children in Deep Poverty (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Median Family Income, by Family Type (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Income Level for Children Relative to Poverty (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Income Level for Children Relative to Poverty, by Family Type (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Low-Income Working Families (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Children in Poverty - Supplemental Poverty Measure (California & U.S. Only)
- Self-Sufficiency Standard
- Children Participating in CalWORKs
- Food Security
- Housing Affordability
- Fair Market Rent, by Unit Size
- Households with a High Housing Cost Burden, by City, School District and County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Crowded Households, by County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Disconnected Youth
- Children Drinking One or More Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Per Day
- Children Who Ate Fast Food Two or More Times in the Past Week, by Age Group
- Children Who Eat Five or More Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Daily, by Age Group
- Students Who Ate Breakfast in the Past Day (Student Reported), by Grade Level
- Healthy Food Choices Provided at School (Staff Reported)
- Why This Topic Is Important
In 2014, nearly one-third (32.8%) of California children lived in families where no parent had full-time employment (1). Unemployment and underemployment reduce family income and thus can cause financial instability. Financial stress has direct impacts on parents and, in addition to limiting parents’s ability to meet their family’s material needs, can affect their ability to meet their children’s emotional needs. Consequently, family financial hardship can contribute to behavioral and social problems in children, and compound poor physical health (2). Children who experience economic hardship when they are young, or who experience extreme and prolonged hardship, are at greatest risk for poor developmental outcomes (2). Children with unemployed parents also are at higher risk of experiencing family relocation and repeating a grade in school than children whose parents are stably employed (2, 3). In addition, long-term parental unemployment is associated with decreased earnings for children when they enter the work force (3).For more information on unemployment, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
Sources for this narrative:
1. As cited on kidsdata.org, Children without secure parental employment, by city, school district and county (65,000 residents or more). (2016). Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey microdata files.
2. Isaacs, J. (2013). Unemployment from a child's perspective. Urban Institute & First Focus. Retrieved from: http://www.urban.org/research/publication/unemployment-childs-perspective
3. Child Trends Databank. (2015). Secure parental employment. Retrieved from: http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=secure-parental-employment
- How Children Are Faring
In 2015, nearly 1.2 million Californians (6.2% of the state workforce) were unemployed, down from a 16-year high of 2.3 million (12.4% of the labor force) in 2010. The trend in California's unemployment mirrors that of the U.S., but California's unemployment figures have been consistently higher since 2000. Unemployment varies across California counties, ranging from 3.4% to 24% in 2015. City-level rates also show variation.
In 2014, 32.8% of California children lived in households without secure parental employment, where no parent worked at least 35 hours per week, at least 50 weeks in the 12 months prior to the survey. California figures for children without secure parent employment have exceeded national figures since at least 2008.
- Policy Implications
California faces significant workforce challenges. The state unemployment insurance system is insolvent, the state is not producing enough college graduates to meet the future needs of its economy, federal funding for income support designed to help families weather financial hardship has declined, and many segments of the economy have lost substantial numbers of jobs (1, 2).
According to research and subject experts, policy options that could mitigate unemployment include:
For more policy ideas and research on this topic see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section or visit the Urban Institute, California Budget & Policy Center, or the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Also see Policy Implications on kidsdata.org under Family Income and Poverty, Housing Affordability, and Homelessness.
- Addressing insolvency in the unemployment insurance system to maintain stability and protect workers and employers (1)
- Retooling state K-12 and higher education systems to improve college eligibility, participation, and graduation rates, particularly among Hispanic/Latino, African American/black, and American Indian/Alaska Native students (3)
- Ensuring adequate federal and state funding to support families in hard times, such as cash assistance, subsidized jobs, and other assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and CalWORKs (2, 4)
- Supporting effective job training, workforce development, and re-employment support programs that align with the job market (5)
Sources for this narrative:
1. Legislative Analyst’s Office. (2015). Major issues facing the unemployment insurance program. Retrieved from: http://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Detail/3194
2. California Budget & Policy Center. (2013). A fair chance: Why California should invest in economic opportunity for women and their families. Retrieved from: http://calbudgetcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/130319_A_Fair_Chance.pdf
3. Acosta, R. A., & Martin, E. J. (2013). California urban crisis and fiscal decline: Trends in high school dropout rates and economic implications. Urbana: Urban Affairs and Public Policy, 14. Retrieved from: http://www.urbanauapp.org/wp-content/uploads/robert.pdf
4. Schott, L., & Pavetti, L. (2013). Changes in TANF work requirements could make them more effective in promoting employment. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Retrieved from: http://www.cbpp.org/research/family-income-support/changes-in-tanf-work-requirements-could-make-them-more-effective-in?fa=view&id=3911
5. Acs, G. (2013). Responding to long-term unemployment. Urban Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.urban.org/research/publication/responding-long-term-unemployment
- Websites with Related Information
- California Budget and Policy Center
- Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP): Income and Work Supports
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- Insight Center for Community Economic Development
- Pew Charitable Trusts: Financial Security and Mobility
- PolicyforResults.org, Center for the Study of Social Policy
- Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
- Urban Institute
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), California Employment Development Dept.
- Key Reports and Research
- California's Future, 2018, Public Policy Institute of California
- Cuts and Consequences: Key Facts About the CalWORKs Program in the Aftermath of the Great Recession, 2012, California Budget & Policy Center
- Falling Behind: The Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California's Women and Their Families, 2012, California Budget & Policy Center, Ross, J.
- Hard Choices: Navigating the Economic Shock of Unemployment, 2013, Pew Charitable Trusts, Boguslaw, J., et al.
- Is the Safety Net Catching Unemployed Families?, 2011, Urban Institute, Nichols, A., & Zedlewski, S.
- Portrait of Promise: The California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity, 2015, California Dept. of Public Health, Office of Health Equity
- Reducing Child Poverty in California: A Look at Housing Costs, Wages, and the Safety Net, 2017, Public Policy Institute of California, Bohn, S., & Danielson, C.
- The California Economy: Underemployed and Discouraged Workers, 2014, Public Policy Institute of California, Bandy, M., & Bohn, S.
- The California Economy: Unemployment Update, 2014, Public Policy Institute of California, Mejia, M. C., & Bohn, S.
- Unemployment from a Child's Perspective, 2013, Urban Institute & First Focus, Isaacs, J.
- Uneven Progress: What the Economic Recovery Has Meant for California’s Workers, 2013, California Budget & Policy Center, Reidenbach, L.
- Work and Family, 2011, The Future of Children
- County/Regional Reports
- 2014 Solano Children's Report Card, Children's Network of Solano County
- 2017 Kern County Report Card, Kern County Network for Children
- Fresno Community Scorecard
- Los Angeles County Community Health Assessment, Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health
- Orange County Community Indicators Report, 2017, Orange County Community Indicators Project
- San Diego County Report Card on Children and Families, 2015, The Children's Initiative & Live Well San Diego
- More Data Sources For Unemployment
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