Jobs Galore: Southern California Continues to See Gains

Monday, October 07, 2019

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Southern California’s steady job growth continued in August, and the state is carrying its share of the water on the national hiring front, too, a state report released shows.

An estimated 109,000 jobs in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties have been added in the last 12 months, according to the Employment Development Department. More than half of that growth was in Los Angeles County, while the largest percentage of expansion continues to be in the Inland Empire.

August’s job gains were below July’s growth of about 120,000 jobs but still represented one of 2019’s best months.

Statewide, there was a net gain of 34,500 jobs in August, a 1.8% increase from the previous month. It was the 114th consecutive month of expansion for California, breaking a record that dates back to the 1960s. The Golden State also was responsible for about one-quarter the nation’s job growth in August.

Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of research at Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics and the UC Riverside Business Center of Economic Development and Forecasting, said job growth in California has held at a steady pace, between 1.5 and 2% over the last year.

“There are lots of indications, particularly in terms of job growth, that California is still a heavy hitter,” Kleinhenz said. “And the same is true at the local levels as well.”

Los Angeles County saw 1.3% job growth, with 59,100 positions added in the last 12 months. Unemployment fell to 4.7% in August from a revised 5.1% in July and 5% in August 2018.

The Inland Empire has added 37,600 jobs since August 2018, or 2.5% growth. Unemployment was at 4.4%, a decrease from 4.6% in both July and from August 2018. There were more than 7.7 million people in the four counties drawing paychecks last month.

Orange County continued to show the weakest growth, with 12,300 new jobs and a 12-month growth rate of 0.7%. The jobless rate of 3% — down from 3.2% in July and 3.1% in August 2018 — was the region’s lowest.

Statewide the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%, unchanged from both July and August 2018. The EDD numbers are not seasonally adjusted and don’t reflect seasonal changes in hiring patterns.

Raymond Sfeir, a Chapman University economist, said the strong growth in the Inland Empire is affecting Orange County because many Inland residents have enough local choices and prefer to avoid commutes. To a degree, Los Angeles County is also drawing work away from Orange County, Sfeir said.

A good example of that is the Inland Empire’s manufacturing sector, which gained 1,300 jobs in the last year, a 1.7% boost. Orange and Los Angeles counties’ manufacturing sectors have been mostly flat.

“When unemployment in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire goes down, it makes it even harder on Orange County,” Sfeir said.

Here are some of the tips for job-hunters across the region, based on EDD’s data:

In Los Angeles County: Growth was solid in the construction field, which is up 6.5%. Other strong sectors include health care practitioner offices (4.8%), amusement and recreation (3.3%) and restaurants (1.7%).

Weak hiring was seen in performing arts (-3.2%), computer systems design (-2.9%), finance and insurance (-1.4%) and retail trade (-1.3).

In Orange County: New attractions at Disneyland has helped boost leisure and hospitality hiring 3.4%. Other strong sectors include computer product manufacturing (3.9%), wholesale trade (2%). and administrative and support services (1.1%).

Declines were found in architecture and engineering (-5.5%), local government (-3.1%) and retail trade and health care at hospitals (both -1.1%).

In the Inland Empire: Growth at ambulatory health care offices remained high at 6.3%, and the transportation and warehousing industry’s job count increased 3.5%. Other busy sectors include professional, scientific and technical services (3.8%) and local government (2.2%).

Dropoffs in hiring seen were in repair and maintenance work (-2.9%), specialty trade contractors (-1.6%) and automotive retailing (-0.8%).

Source: The Press Enterprise

Category: Economic News, Business News