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California’s economy still needs 176,000 more jobs to join the nation’s job market that on Friday learned it had fully rebounded from the pandemic’s damage.

July jobs national stats showed an unexpected 582,000 hiring spree, pushing the U.S. worker count past pre-coronavirus levels to a record 152.5 million workers.

California jobs stats for July won’t come out until Aug. 19, but July’s big national jump should put the state closer to complete job recovery.

Controversy has swirled about California’s tough business limitations designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Restrictions hit businesses with close customer contact the hardest. Restaurants, tourism and entertainment and personal services such as beauty, health and exercise were either shuttered or had services greatly reduced for more than a year.

Such constraints deepened statewide job losses and slowed the rebound, even though the state did suffer below-average pandemic-related deaths on a per capita basis.

My trusty spreadsheet tells me California lost 2.76 million jobs in the early locked-down months of the pandemic, the largest employment dip among the states. This 16% drop was No. 14 nationally on a percentage basis.

Since the spring of 2020, the state has added 2.58 million jobs (No. 1 nationally) — but that’s just 94% of the initial pandemic job losses, with 23 states outperforming California’s employment rebound.

That left California in June with 17.52 million jobs — 176,000 short of February 2020, the last month before coronavirus hit, or 99% of pre-pandemic employment.

Ponder what the big U.S. July jump could mean for California. In 2022’s first half, California represented 14% of the nation’s 2.67 million jobs created. If the state’s share holds for July, a potential 74,000 job gains would almost cut by almost half California’s remaining pandemic era shortfall.

By the way, 15 states fully recovered all pandemic job losses, as of June: Utah (106% of February 2020 employment), Idaho (106%), Montana (104%), Texas (104%), Florida (103%), Tennessee (103%), Georgia (103%), North Carolina (103%), Arizona (102%), Colorado (101%), South Dakota (101%), Arkansas (101%), South Carolina (101%), Indiana (100%), and Nevada (100%).

PS: The strong U.S. jobs report could impact California another way — pressuring the Federal Reserve to further ramp up interest rate hikes designed to cool an overheated economy and soaring inflation. That could mean pricier mortgages, too.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Roblox misses on top and bottom but says daily users hit record high in July

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  • RBLX
The New York Stock Exchange welcomes executives and guests of Roblox (NYSE: RBLX), today, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, in celebration of its Direct Listing.NYSE

Roblox reported results on Tuesday that missed analyst estimates on the top and bottom lines.

Here's how the company did:

  • Loss per share: 30 cents vs. 21 cents expected, according to a survey of analysts polled by Refinitiv.
  • Revenue: $639.9 million vs. $644.4 million expected, according to Refinitiv.

Shares fell more than 11% in after-hours trading.

The revenue figure is what Roblox calls bookings, which include sales recognized during the quarter and deferred revenue. Bookings declined by 4% year over year. The company generates revenue from sales of its virtual currency called Robux, which players use to dress up their avatars and buy other premium features in the games.

Roblox reported 52.2 million average daily active users, about a million shy of the StreetAccount consensus. That figure is up from 21% a year earlier, but down from the 54.1 million daily active users it reported in the first quarter. Users spent more than 11 billion hours engaged in Roblox during the second quarter.

Roblox said average bookings per daily active user was $12.25, down 21% year over year.

The company also offered a peek into the third quarter. It said July daily active users hit a record high of 58.5 million, up 26% year over year. And bookings for the month fell between $243 million and $247 million, up 8% to 10% from July 2021.

The company saw bookings swell more than 200% during the pandemic when kids were spending more time on their screens while stuck at home. The stock was blazing hot in 2021, after Roblox's direct listing in March. Its market cap neared $80 billion before peaking in November 2021. Shares are down more than 60% since their highs.

Chief Business Officer Craig Donato told CNBC's Steve Kovach that Roblox is bullish on the future because of its investments in its employees, server capacity and global data centers.

"We're very much in investment mode," Donato said, "and that's going to put a little bit of drag on earnings, but these are investments that are the right investments for us to make that will pay off in the three-to-five-year timeframe."

Executives will discuss the results with analysts on a conference call starting at 8:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.


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