Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A. Unemployment Climbs

By Howard Fine Originally published August 16, 2013 at 2:15 p.m., updated August 16, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.

Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent in July as county payrolls declined by 30,000 jobs, according to state figures released Friday.

The state Employment Development Department reported that the county’s July unemployment rate rose from 9.7 percent in June. The jobless rate was down from 10.6 percent in the same month last year.

More than 10,000 people entered the labor force looking for work. The number of county residents who reported they were working fell by 3,000, or nearly 1 percent.

Statewide, the rate was 8.7 percent statewide figure for July and nationwide it was 7.4 percent. In the county’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, unemployment rates was nearly 12 percent.

The county showed a drop of 30,000 payroll jobs to just below 3.9 million jobs. About 39,000 jobs fell from education payrolls due to the end of the school year.

When adjusted for this and other seasonal factors, the county actually gained roughly 17,500 payroll jobs, according to an analysis released Friday from Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles economic consulting firm.

Payroll jobs data are derived from a survey of employers, while the unemployment data come from a household survey.

The biggest payroll jobs gainer was the entertainment industry, up nearly 8,000 jobs. The hospitality sector gained roughly 4,500 jobs in July, followed by the retail sector, up nearly 4,000 jobs.

“We’ve been seeing a steady growth in demand for hospitality workers,” said Alexandra Von Tiergarten, Los Angeles metro region manager for Robert Half International, a San Mateo employment services firm.

Von Tiergarten said demand has also continued to pick up for information technology workers and among her entertainment industry clients.

Overall, though, she said employers were slightly more cautious in July than in previous months. “They are taking a little more time to pull the trigger and hire either full-time or temporary workers.”