California Employment Statistics

  • 1,558,094 employers
  • 17,354,202 employees
  • $1,317 average weekly wage
  • The average weekly wage is 19.6% above the national average
  • The cost of living is 38.7% above the national average

Types of Employers (Private Sector vs Government Agency)

As an employer in California, you are most likely to be running a private company rather than a government agency. 97.7% of employers run private companies in the state, BIGGER0.7% greater than the national average of 97.0. The remaining 2.3% of employers are government agencies: 0.2% work in a federal agency, 0.9% work for the state and 1.2% work for local government. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employers by type.
85.7% of employees work for a private company, this is 0.5% greater than the national average of 85.2%. Local government agencies employ 10.2% of the workers in the state, state government agencies employ 2.7% of the workers and the federal government employs 1.4%. The percentage of employees working for a government agency (14.3%) is 0.5% lower than the national average. The chart below illustrates the breakout of employees by type of employer.
The average weekly wage in California is $1,317 per week, which is 19.6% less than the national average of $1,101 per week. California workers that are employed by private businesses earn $1,312 per week, 19.3% greater than the national average for private company employees. Employees of federal government agencies in California earn $1,645 per week, a premium of 25.4% compared to what employees of private companies earn. The chart below illustrates the average weekly by type of employer.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Healthcare with 38.7% of the businesses in the state. Professional services (9.5%) and Retail trade (6.7%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Businesses
Sector# Businesses% of Bus.
Healthcare603,11438.7%
Professional services147,3389.5%
Retail trade104,5076.7%
Other services92,1835.9%
Accommodation and food services85,3785.5%
Construction79,9865.1%
Wholesale trade63,0794.0%
Real estate and rental54,2423.5%
Waste services52,4813.4%
Finance and insurance51,3473.3%
Manufacturing44,3152.8%
Unclassified30,9512.0%
Information25,4881.6%
Arts and entertainment24,7361.6%
Transport and warehousing24,6611.6%
Agriculture and forestry16,6581.1%
Educational services14,9221.0%
Company management4,6990.3%
Utilities1,2830.1%
Mining and oil extraction7850.1%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 13.4% of the employees in the state. Retail trade (9.7%) and Accommodation and food services (9.6%) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Sectors by # of Employees
Sector# Employees% of Emp'
Healthcare2,323,27813.4%
Retail trade1,682,5509.7%
Accommodation and food services1,671,7109.6%
Manufacturing1,319,5187.6%
Professional services1,282,7297.4%
Waste services1,126,6756.5%
Construction859,1945.0%
Wholesale trade699,1094.0%
Transport and warehousing591,0673.4%
Finance and insurance540,8663.1%
Other services538,5913.1%
Information524,7863.0%
Agriculture and forestry422,8982.4%
Educational services324,1291.9%
Arts and entertainment315,3781.8%
Real estate and rental293,5841.7%
Company management252,9691.5%
Utilities56,4140.3%
Unclassified28,9410.2%
Mining and oil extraction20,2710.1%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Information paying $3,621per week compared with the state average of $1,312. Company management ($2,594) and Utilities ($2,538) round out the top 3 sectors.
Table: Wages by Sector
SectorWkly Wagevs St Avg.
Information$3,621276.0%
Company management$2,594197.7%
Utilities$2,538193.4%
Finance and insurance$2,464187.8%
Mining and oil extraction$2,378181.3%
Professional services$2,356179.6%
Manufacturing$1,838140.1%
Wholesale trade$1,506114.8%
Unclassified$1,350102.9%
Construction$1,348102.7%
Real estate and rental$1,325101.0%
Arts and entertainment$1,14287.0%
Transport and warehousing$1,09683.5%
Educational services$1,05880.6%
Healthcare$99675.9%
Waste services$87466.6%
Other services$78359.7%
Retail trade$70553.7%
Agriculture and forestry$66550.7%
Accommodation and food services$48136.7%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In California. the industry with the most businesses is Services for the elderly and disabled with 31.8% of the businesses in the state (with 495,810 employing 586,525 workers). Restaurants and other eating places (4.6%) and Offices of physicians (2.1%) round out the top 3 industries. The Top 10 Industries in the state are:
Industry# BusinessesEmp/Biz
Services for the elderly and disabled495,8101.2
Restaurants and other eating places71,50818.7
Offices of physicians32,5087.4
Unclassified30,9510.9
Computer systems design and related services27,33511.8
Private households25,7781.3
Management consulting services22,6576.1
Residential building construction22,3895.2
Offices of lawyers21,9036.1
Offices of dentists21,6656.1


Employees by Industry

The industry with the greatest number of employees in the state is Restaurants and other eating places with 7.7% of the businesses in the state. The industry employs 1,335,615 in 71,508 businesses, there are 18.7 employees on average in each of these businesses. Services for the elderly and disabled (3.4%) and Temporary help services (2.3%) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Industries by # of Employees
Industry# EmpEmp/Biz
Restaurants and other eating places1,335,61518.7
Services for the elderly and disabled586,5251.2
Temporary help services391,30979.5
General medical and surgical hospitals376,410652.4
Computer systems design and related services322,83211.8
Supermarkets and other grocery stores296,25539.9
Management of companies and enterprises252,96953.8
Offices of physicians240,9817.4
Support activities for crop production221,45162.5
Hotels and motels except casino hotels215,40037.5


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is All other information services, paying $8,173 compared with the state average of $1,312. Internet publishing and web search portals ($6,615) and Portfolio management ($6,330) round out the top 3 industries.
Table: Wages by Industry
IndustryWkly Wage% of Avg
All other information services$8,173622.9
Internet publishing and web search portals$6,615504.2
Portfolio management$6,330482.5
Credit card issuing$6,147468.5
Independent artists writers and performers$5,977455.6
Investment banking and securities dealing$5,739437.4
Computer and peripheral equipment mfg.$5,434414.2
Crude petroleum extraction$5,412412.5
Miscellaneous intermediation$5,110389.5
Securities brokerage$4,518344.4


Company Size

California Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in California by far. 72.3% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 1,462,837 small businesses in the state represent 96.7% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.6%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) The pie chart below illustrates the ratio of business sizes.

California Employees by Business Size

The largest companies in the state represent 107.4% of all employees, which is 31.1% lower than the national average of 138.4%. Interestingly, the smallest companies in the state employ a higher percentage than the largest companies, this is not typical. The solopreneur (those that employ fewer than 5) companies employ 94.3% of all workers, which is 2.8% higher than the national average of 91.5%. All small companies, those employing fewer than 50 people, represent 438.3% of the labor force in the state, 111.7% less than the national average of 550.0%.

California Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

The smallest companies in California (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 18.2% less than the national average ($825 per week as compared to the national average of $975 per week). The largest companies in California (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 25.0% workers above the national average ($2,511 per week as compared to the national average of $1,882 per week).



Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.