Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A. Unemployment Stays at 8.1 Percent

By Howard Fine Friday, August 15, 2014

L.A.’s unemployment rate held steady at 8.1 percent for July even as the county lost 58,000 jobs in July as schools let out for the summer, according to state figures released Friday.

The Employment Development Department reported that jobless rate was down from 10 percent a year ago, but still exceeded the state average of 7.4 percent and was nearly two full percentage points more than the national average of 6.2 percent.

July’s employer payrolls showed one of their largest month-to-month drops in recent years, 1.4 percent.

Education accounted for the lion’s share of the losses as public and private educational institutions shed 41,000 jobs during July. Most of the losses were seasonal as schools let out for the summer and substitute teachers and other employees on year-to-year employment contracts saw their work end. In previous years, most of these teachers and other employees were rehired as the new school year starts.

But net job losses also hit other industries. The social assistance sector shed nearly 4,000 jobs, while the entertainment sector lost 2,400 jobs, wholesale trade 2,200 jobs and construction 1,500 jobs.

Only one industry saw a slight gain, and that was leisure and hospitality, up a net 400 jobs. The professional and business services segment was flat.

One local staffing industry executive said she sees those figures as a summertime blip. Many employers have hit their hiring budgets for their fiscal year and have been forced to wait on hiring until their next fiscal year gets under way, according to Brandi Britton, Los Angeles region district manager for Robert Half International, a Menlo Park staffing firm.

“We’re seeing a lot of people planning for future hires later in the year and into 2015, just not immediately,” Britton said.

Looking at the year-over-year employment figures, employer payrolls increased by a net 69,000 positions, or 1.7 percent. Professional and business services rose 27,600, social assistance jobs rose by 16,000 and retail trade gained nearly 10,000 jobs.

Manufacturing remained in a long-term decline, shedding 15,000 jobs over the past year.