Southern California Adds 68,200 Jobs in August — Fastest Hiring in 4 Months

Friday, September 17, 2021

Main News Photo

(Orange County Register)

Southern California bosses added 68,200 jobs in August — the biggest hiring spree in four months — despite a resurgent coronavirus.

State job figures released Sept. 17, found bosses had 7.36 million employees last month in the four counties covered by the Southern California News Group. This staffing level was up 0.9% in a month and 6.7% in a year, according to a survey of employers in Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties.

Orange County: 94% of pre-virus jobs — down 92,600 after adding 7,200 last month. Recovery pace? Up 10,500 a month. Unemployment? 6% this month vs. 6.3% previous month vs. 10.7% a year earlier.

Riverside and San Bernardino counties: 96% of pre-virus jobs — down 62,300 after adding 5,500 last month. Recovery pace? Up 9,200 a month. Unemployment? 7.6% this month vs. 7.9% previous month vs. 11.5% a year earlier.

Los Angeles County: 92% of pre-virus jobs — down 371,500 after adding 55,500 last month. Recovery pace? Up 23,600 a month. Unemployment? 9.7% this month vs. 10.2% previous month vs. 17.5% a year earlier.

Here are the highlights …

History: Last month’s hiring reversed a July slide that cut 27,900 jobs. The region has added 460,400 over 12 months. Hiring has averaged a 43,300 monthly pace in the recovery from 2020’s lockdowns.

Full recovery? Despite a noteworthy rebound from the iced economy of spring 2020, total employment is still 93% of February 2020, the last time the economy wasn’t shackled by the virus. That’s 526,400 workers short of pre-coronavirus employment.

Unemployment: Southern California’s jobless rate — derived from a household survey — for August was 8.51% — the pandemic era’s low — vs. a revised 8.95% the previous month, the spreadsheet says. It was 4.17% in February 2020 and peaked at 17.14% in May 2020.

Split recovery: Employment in eateries, tourism and entertainment is at 808,600 — 85% of pre-pandemic staffing vs. 94% for the rest of the economy. These “fun” businesses added 2,800 workers last month — only 4% of all hires and well below their average 16,200 hires per month during the rebound.

Here’s a look at employment pain in the “fun” job market niches in August in Southern California, hardest hit in the pandemic overall as throttled by the recent Delta variant  …

Restaurants: Last month was 86% of the pre-virus employment level — 584,600 workers are down 96,100 from February 2020. That’s after adding 400 last month vs. jobs growing 11,900 monthly in the recovery.

Hotels: 76% of pre-virus jobs — 73,400 workers are down 23,500 from February 2020. That’s after adding 1,700 last month vs. jobs growing 1,400 monthly in the recovery.

Arts, entertainment and recreation: 86% of pre-virus jobs — 150,600 workers are down 24,300 from February 2020. That’s after adding 700 last month vs. jobs growing 2,800 monthly in the recovery.

And hiring trends in other key SoCal job categories, ranked by recovery level …

Transportation/warehouses: The online shopping craze has pushed this logistics niche to 11% above — yes, above — its pre-virus employment levels. Its 423,700 workers are up 43,100 from February 2020. That’s after adding 5,900 last month vs. jobs growing 4,200 monthly in the recovery.

Healthcare, personal services: 99% of the pre-virus employment level — 1.16 million workers are down 12,400 from February 2020. That’s after adding 700 last month vs. jobs growing 5,600 monthly in the recovery.

Business services: 96% of pre-virus jobs — 1.09 million workers are down 48,000 from February 2020. That’s after adding 8,100 last month vs. jobs growing 6,000 monthly in the recovery.

Retailing: 95% of pre-virus jobs — 701,100 workers are down 37,300 from February 2020. That’s after dropping 3,800 last month vs. jobs growing 6,600 monthly in the recovery.

Construction, real estate, finance: 95% of pre-virus jobs — 642,900 workers are down 31,100 from February 2020. That’s after dropping 400 last month vs. jobs growing 2,700 monthly in the recovery.

Manufacturing: 92% of pre-virus jobs — 549,200 workers are down 47,200 from February 2020. That’s after adding 1,500 last month vs. jobs growing 1,400 monthly in the recovery.

Government: 91% of pre-virus jobs — 936,800 workers are down 95,000 from February 2020. That’s after adding 47,700 last month vs. jobs dipping 4,100 monthly in the recovery.

Category: Economic News, Jobs, Southern California, Orange County