SoCal Added 64.5K Jobs in March, in Growth Mode to Recapture Pre-Pandemic Levels

Monday, April 19, 2021

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(Southern California News Group)

Southern California bosses added 64,500 jobs in March as pandemic-related business limitations left the region 753,900 workers short of pre-coronavirus employment.

State job figures released April 16, found local bosses had 7.14 million employees last month in the four counties covered by the Southern California News Group. This staffing level, derived from a survey of employers, was up 0.91% in a month or 103,600 jobs. The region added an average 46,236 workers monthly since April’s economic bottom.

The region’s economy is back in growth mode with additional businesses allowed to reopen as more residents get vaccinated and COVID-19 deaths and cases decline rapidly. Still, total employment in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties is 90% of February 2020, the last time the economy wasn’t shackled by the virus.

Yet it’s a very split recovery: Employment in hospitality industries such as retail, eateries, tourism and entertainment are only at 70% of pre-pandemic staffing vs. 93% for the rest of the economy. Or look at the gap this way: These so-called “fun” industries represent 9% of all local jobs but are 38% of pandemic employment losses.

Southern California’s jobless rate for March was 9.3% vs. a revised 9.5% the previous month and 4.2% in February 2020, according to the spreadsheet. If the latest rate is adjusted to include the 282,100 folks who quit the job market, the unemployment rate would be 13.9%.

Here’s how employment fared in those fun businesses in March across Southern California. With the reopenings of Disneyland, other theme parks and entertainment venues, job counts should surge in the coming months:

Retailing: 698,800 jobs last month — up 2,000 in a month but down 39,600 from February 2020. That puts staffing at 95% of what it was before coronavirus hit.

Restaurants: 515,300 jobs — up 14,200 in a month but down 165,400 from February 2020, or 76% of pre-pandemic employment.

Hotels: 51,300 jobs — up 6,900 in a month but down 45,600 from February 2020, or 53% of pre-pandemic employment.

Arts, entertainment, and recreation: 100,200 jobs — up 6,900 in a month but down 74,700 from February 2020, or 57% of pre-pandemic employment.

Hiring trends in other key SoCal job categories:

Healthcare, personal services: 1.13 million — up 500 in a month but down 33,200 from February 2020, or 97% of pre-pandemic employment.

Real estate, construction, finance: 473,900 jobs — up 400 in a month but down 23,600 from February 2020, or 95% of pre-pandemic employment.

Transportation/warehouses: 417,200 jobs — up 6,900 in a month but up 36,600 from February 2020, or 110% of February 2020. Yes, 110%! All that online shopping boosts the logistics industry.

Business services: 1.06 million jobs — up 10,200 in a month but down 79,200 from February 2020, or 93% of pre-pandemic employment.

Manufacturing: 539,600 jobs — up 1,100 in a month but down 56,800 from February 2020, or 90% of pre-pandemic employment.

Government: 945,700 jobs — up 4,600 in a month but down 86,100 from February 2020, or 92% of pre-pandemic employment.

In SoCal’s metropolitan areas:

Orange County: 17,800 jobs added last month to 1.52 million — 90% of February 2020. (Fun jobs at 34% of pre-virus level vs. 6% elsewhere.) Unemployment? 6.4% last month vs. 6.7% the previous month and 2.8% in February.

Los Angeles County: 34,200 jobs added last month to 4.11 million — but that’s 89% of February 2020. (Fun jobs at 30% of pre-virus level vs. 9% elsewhere.) Unemployment? 10.9% last month vs. 10.9% the previous month and 4.7% in February.

Riverside and San Bernardino counties: 12,500 jobs added last month to 1.51 million — 95% of February 2020. (Fun jobs at 25% of pre-virus level vs. 2% elsewhere.) Unemployment? 7.7% last month vs. 8.1% the previous month and 3.9% in February.


Image: SCNG/Source: Employment Development Dept.

Category: Economic News, Jobs, COVID-19, orange county