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Santa Clarita unemployment rate plunges in April

Posted: May 16, 2014 5:51 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2014 5:51 p.m.

Jobless numbers in Santa Clarita plunged to 4.6 percent in April, according to data released Friday by the California Economic Development Department.

In March, the unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent.

“Year-over-year we dropped more than a point from 5.8 percent in 2013,” said Jason Crawford, marketing and economic development manager for the city.

Locally, the numbers have not been this low since 2008, when companies across the nation began to shed millions of workers from their payrolls.

Santa Clarita last saw numbers in the 4-percent range six years ago, in May and June of 2008, when the unemployment rates were 4 and 4.3 percent, respectively.

“We are seeing many positive indicators, including increases in retail and restaurant sales, increases in new home construction, and plans to break ground on over 2 million square feet of new business parks this year in the Santa Clarita Valley,” Crawford said.

Nationwide, the jobless rate dipped from 6.7 percent in March to 6.3 percent in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Los Angeles Country dropped more than a full percentage point, going from 8.7 percent in March down to 7.6 percent in April.

Statewide, California’s unemployment numbers dipped to 7.8 percent in April, down from 8.1 percent in March. One year ago, the state posted a 9.1 unemployment rate in April.

Like Santa Clarita, the last time California’s numbers were this low was in September 2008, when it was 7.9 percent.

In the greater Los Angeles market, Santa Clarita has the lowest unemployment rate for cities with a labor force size of 90,000 workers or more.

The area even beat the city of Santa Monica — the new SoCal high-tech market — which recorded a jobless rate of 6.3 percent in April.

In comparison to like-size cities with similar economic activity, Glendale’s April unemployment rate came in at 6.6 percent, Burbank at 6.1 percent and Pasadena at 5.8 percent.

The numbers show the strength of the Santa Clarita Valley market, said Holly Schroeder, CEO and president of the SCV Economic Development Corporation.

The big drop in the jobless rates is really good news for the economy, she said.

Neighboring cities to the north of Santa Clarita recorded very significant drops in unemployment.

Palmdale’s jobless rate dropped from 10.9 percent in March to 9.5 percent in April. Unemployment in Lancaster dropped from 12.4 percent in March to 10.9 percent in April.

But Michael Bernick — a fellow at the Milken Institute economic think tank and former director of the EDD — warned that the positive numbers can be deceptive.

Many employees now work part time, on contract or on a specific project and then move on, he said in an interview with The Associated Press. That means they lack the stability and long-term benefits of traditional full-time employment.

“It’s a different type of employment, but it’s still counted if you’re hired 20 hours a week, if you’re hired as a project employee.”




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