Part of the Labor Center’s Covid-19 Series: Resources, Data, and Analysis for California
Last updated February 1, 2022


This data tool tracks the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers in California, and how the state is recovering from these effects. The pandemic left millions of Californians out of work, and while the economy has begun to recover in recent months, some workers continue to struggle. This resource will be updated periodically, as new data becomes available, to allow users to monitor the progress of labor markets in the state.

Key highlights include:

  • California’s economy experienced massive job losses from the pandemic, and it is still a long way from fully recovering. Compared to the nation as a whole, California lost a greater proportion of jobs during the pandemic. Although California’s employment hasn’t fully recovered yet, the state has accounted for most of the job gains nationwide over the last four months.
  • While employment in the private sector is beginning to recover, employment in the public sector is largely stagnant, especially for local governments.
  • California’s labor markets also experienced a significant loss of workers. As the pandemic began, the portion of the population either working or looking for work in California decreased substantially compared to the United States as a whole. Early into the state’s recovery, hundreds of thousands of workers remain on the sidelines.
  • The impact of COVID-19 extends beyond the labor market. Many workers, especially workers of color and low-wage workers, continue to experience economic, housing, and food insecurities and challenges in accessing medical care.

Download chartbook.


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