Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A. County Adds Jobs

By Howard Fine Friday, November 16, 2012

Los Angeles County’s jobs recovery continued to pick up steam as the unemployment rate dipped to 10.5 percent in October and employers added 41,000 jobs to their payrolls, according to state figures released Friday.

The unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in more than three years, down slightly from 10.6 percent in September and well below the 12.2 percent mark a year ago, according to the state Employment Development Department. The October drop was largely due to more teachers and other employees reporting back to schools.

Despite the recent improvement, the county’s jobless rate is still above the statewide average of 10.1 percent and much higher than the national rate of 7.9 percent.

Locally, the county’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, both posted unemployment rates of 11.4 percent in October, up slightly from 11.2 percent in September.

Nonfarm payroll employment countywide rose by 41,200 jobs, topping 3.88 million. The surge in teachers and other employees returning to schools – 28,000 in all – accounted for nearly two-thirds of the gains. Typically, this influx occurs in September as summer recess ends, but this year it continued into October.

Other growing industries included retail trade (up 4,900 jobs) and leisure/hospitality (up 2,500 jobs).

“We’re seeing broad-based job growth,” said Kimberly Ritter, economist with Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

The information sector, which includes the film and television industry, was the biggest decliner in October, dropping by 3,400 jobs. Employment trends in the entertainment industry are notoriously volatile; the industry gained 6,000 jobs between August and September.

Unlike the unemployment figures, which are derived from a household survey, the payroll jobs data come from a sampling of local employer payroll filings with the state.

Los Angeles County’s jobs picture also improved significantly over the past year, with nearly 58,000 jobs added to payrolls, for a growth rate of 1.5 percent. Nine of the county’s 11 major job sectors gained over the past year, led by professional and business services (up 17,000 jobs), followed by retail trade (up 9,000).

Local government payrolls fell by 6,800 jobs over the past year, while the manufacturing sector lost 5,300 jobs.