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- Definition: Estimated number of persons in the labor force who are not working but are available to work and have looked for work in the previous 4 weeks (e.g., in 2017, 918,900 Californians were unemployed).Estimated percentage of persons in the labor force who are not working but are available to work and have looked for work in the previous 4 weeks (e.g., in 2017, the unemployment rate in California was 4.8%).
- Data Source: California Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics Including the National Unemployment Rate (Jun. 2018).
- Footnote: Data are not seasonally adjusted. The labor force includes all persons ages 16 and older who are employed or unemployed. For definitions and additional information, see the California Employment Development Department's and Bureau of Labor Statistics's glossaries. Data are displayed for sub-county geographies with at least 10,000 people based on 2017 population estimates. The notation S refers to data that have been suppressed because there were fewer than 20 unemployed persons. N/A means that data are not available. Some regions listed are Census Designated Places (CDPs), such as East Los Angeles; CDPs are communities within the unincorporated part of a county.
- Measures of Unemployment on Kidsdata.org
On kidsdata.org, estimates of children under age 18 living in families without secure parental employment (in which no resident parent worked 35 hours or more per week for at least 50 weeks in the previous 12 months) are available as 1-year estimates for regions with 65,000+ residents and as 5-year estimates for regions of 10,000+ residents and legislative districts.
Kidsdata.org also provides estimates of unemployed persons in the labor force ages 16 and older. Unemployment numbers and rates reflect persons who are not employed, are available for work, and have looked for a job in the previous 4 weeks.*
- 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)
- Household Income Distribution, by Quintile (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Gini Index of Household Income Inequality (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)
- Mothers with a Recent Birth Living in Families in Poverty
- Mothers with a Recent Birth Living in Low-Income Families
- Children in Poverty - Supplemental Poverty Measure (California & U.S. Only)
- Poverty Thresholds - California Poverty Measure, by Family Composition and Housing Tenure
- Children in Poverty - California Poverty Measure
- Children in Deep Poverty - California Poverty Measure
- Poverty-Reducing Effects of the Social Safety Net - California Poverty Measure, by Program Type and Poverty Level (California Only)
- Self-Sufficiency Standard
- Children Participating in CalWORKs
- Food Security
- Childhood Adversity and Resilience
- Children with Two or More Adverse Experiences (Parent Reported)
- Prevalence of Childhood Hardships (Maternal Retrospective)
- by Family Income (CA Only)
- by Maternal Age (CA Only)
- by Prenatal Insurance Coverage (CA Only)
- by Race/Ethnicity (CA Only)
- Basic Needs Not Met
- Basic Needs Not Met, by Family Income (CA Only)
- Basic Needs Not Met, by Maternal Age (CA Only)
- Basic Needs Not Met, by Prenatal Insurance Coverage (CA Only)
- Basic Needs Not Met, by Race/Ethnicity (CA Only)
- Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (Adult Retrospective)
- Housing Affordability
- Fair Market Rent, by Unit Size
- Households with a High Housing Cost Burden (65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Crowded Households (65,000 Residents or More)
- Impact of Special Health Care Needs on Children & Families
- Disconnected Youth
- Why This Topic Is Important
Unemployment and underemployment reduce family income and can lead to financial instability. In addition to limiting parents' ability to meet their families' material needs, financial stress can affect their ability to provide for their children emotionally. Consequently, family financial hardship can contribute to behavioral and social problems in children, and compound poor physical health (1). Children who experience economic hardship when they are young, or who experience extreme and prolonged hardship, are at greatest risk for poor developmental outcomes (1). Children with unemployed parents also are at higher risk of experiencing family relocation and repeating a grade in school compared with children whose parents are stably employed (1, 2). In addition, long-term parental unemployment is associated with decreased earnings for children when they enter the work force (2).For more information on unemployment, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
Sources for this narrative:
1. Isaacs, J. (2013). Unemployment from a child's perspective. Urban Institute & First Focus. Retrieved from: https://www.urban.org/research/publication/unemployment-childs-perspective
2. Child Trends Databank. (2015). Secure parental employment. Retrieved from: https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/indicator_1457197335.909.pdf
- How Children Are Faring
In 2016, an estimated 31% of California children lived in families in which no parent had full-time, year-round employment in the previous 12 months, compared with 28% of children nationwide. Among counties with data in 2012-2016, the percentage of children without secure parental employment ranged from 22% (San Mateo) to 48% (Siskiyou).
California's unemployment rate in 2017 was an estimated 4.8%, lower than at any point in the previous 18 years, and down from an estimated 12.4% in 2010. Since 2000, unemployment trends statewide have followed but consistently exceeded those of the nation.
- Policy Implications
Recent labor market trends generally have benefited California's workforce, but not all families have prospered from the state's strong economy. Despite declining unemployment and sustained job growth in most sectors, disparities persist across regions and demographic groups (1). Addressing barriers to work, skills training, and support services can maximize opportunity for all Californians (1, 2).
Policy options that could improve workforce participation and connection include:
For more policy ideas and research on this topic, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section or visit Urban Institute, California Budget and Policy Center, or Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Also see Policy Implications on kidsdata.org under Family Income and Poverty, Housing Affordability, and Homelessness.
- Retooling state K-12 and higher education systems to improve college eligibility, participation, and graduation rates, particularly among African American/black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic/Latino students (1, 3, 4)
- Ensuring adequate federal and state funding to support families in need, such as cash assistance, subsidized jobs, and other assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and CalWORKs (5, 6)
- Expanding access to affordable child care and transportation among working parents and transit-dependent workers (1, 3, 5)
- Supporting effective job training, workforce development, and re-employment support programs that align with the job market (1, 7)
Sources for this narrative:
1. Bohn, S. (2019). California's future: Economy. Public Policy Institute of California. Retrieved from: https://www.ppic.org/publication/californias-future-economy
2. California Workforce Development Board. (n.d.). Skills attainment for upward mobility; aligned services for shared prosperity. Retrieved from: https://cwdb.ca.gov/plans_policies/wioa_unified_strategic_workforce_development_plan
3. Reidenbach, L. (2015). How California’s workforce is changing and why state policy has to change with it. California Budget and Policy Center. Retrieved from: https://calbudgetcenter.org/resources/how-californias-workforce-is-changing-and-why-state-policy-has-to-change-with-it
4. 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: https://www.urbanauapp.org/wp-content/uploads/robert.pdf
5. California Budget and Policy Center. (2013). A fair chance: Why California should invest in economic opportunity for women and their families. Retrieved from: https://calbudgetcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/130319_A_Fair_Chance.pdf
6. 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: https://www.cbpp.org/research/family-income-support/changes-in-tanf-work-requirements-could-make-them-more-effective-in
7. Acs, G. (2013). Responding to long-term unemployment. Urban Institute. Retrieved from: https://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
- Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, California Employment Development Dept.
- Key Reports and Research
- California's Future, 2019, Public Policy Institute of California
- Cuts and Consequences: Key Facts About the CalWORKs Program in the Aftermath of the Great Recession, 2012, California Budget and Policy Center
- Falling Behind: The Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California's Women and Their Families, 2012, California Budget and Policy Center, Ross, J.
- Hard Choices: Navigating the Economic Shock of Unemployment, 2013, Pew Charitable Trusts, Boguslaw, J., et al.
- How California’s Workforce Is Changing and Why State Policy Has to Change with It, California Budget and Policy Center, Reidenbach, L.
- 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, 2017, Public Policy Institute of California, Cuellar Mejia, M., & 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 and Policy Center, Reidenbach, L.
- Work and Family, 2011, The Future of Children
- County/Regional Reports
- Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan, Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health
- Important Facts About Kern’s Children, Kern County Network for Children
- Live Well San Diego Report Card on Children, Families, and Community, 2017, The Children's Initiative & Live Well San Diego
- Orange County Community Indicators Report, Orange County Community Indicators Project
- More Data Sources For Unemployment
- 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book, Annie E. Casey Foundation
- California Family Needs Calculator, Insight Center for Community Economic Development
- California Health Interview Survey, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
- Childstats.gov, Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
- The Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey, Urban Institute
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