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SCV unemployment drops to 6.9%

The August rate dips in both the state and county as well

Posted: September 21, 2012 6:33 p.m.
Updated: September 21, 2012 6:33 p.m.

August unemployment numbers dropped in California, Los Angeles County and the city of Santa Clarita, according to numbers released by the state’s Employment Development Department on Friday.

Santa Clarita’s unemployment rate in August was reported at 6.9 percent — a drop from 7.3 percent in July. Prior to July, the city’s unemployment rate had remained steady at 6.8 percent since April 2012.

“The decrease in Santa Clarita’s August 2012 unemployment rate to 6.9 percent — more than a full percentage point from a year ago (8 percent) — is one of the largest decreases we’ve seen as we recover from the Great Recession,” said Ken Striplin, assistant city manager.

Unemployment rates in Los Angeles County dropped from 11.9 percent in July to 11.2 percent in August, according to the labor department’s data. Still, that leaves more than 539,000 people unemployed in the county.

Although unemployment figures for the state of California dropped .01 percent to 10.6 percent in August, the ranks of unemployed are growing in term of length of unemployment.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 8.1 percent in August, reported the state’s labor department.

Some 35.1 percent of people unemployed in California during the month of August had been without work for 52 weeks or longer. That is up from 33.2 percent in August 2011.

The labor department reports 1.935 million Californians are out of work. Initial claims for unemployment were 244,177 in August, down 13,953 from July. California’s jobless rate remains the third-highest in the nation, behind Nevada and Rhode Island, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The state’s labor department reported that nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 12,000 during the month of August — for a total gain of 504,000 jobs since the recovery began in February 2010. The greatest job growth was in education and health services, which is up 8,900 jobs. The government lost more jobs among major industry sectors — 7,400 jobs in August.

While local companies are not in a rush to hire yet, they are starting to hire and expand again, said Keri Aaver, interim director with the Santa Clarita WorkSource Center. The center is seeing some increased demand to fill open positions, she said.

“The biggest demand right now is for call center positions — customer service positions,” she said. “In some cases, if people are bilingual — speaking Korean, Portuguese, French or Spanish — it increases the amount of money they can make.”

But manufacturing has spurred most of the growth locally, Aaver said. The WorkSource Center has also seen an ongoing demand for security people, Aaver said.

On Thursday, the UCLA Anderson Forecast predicted slightly slower gains in employment through 2012. The unemployment rate will hover around 10.7 percent through 2012 and average 9.8 percent throughout 2013, economists said. Single-digit unemployment rates in the state aren’t expected until 2014, accordng to the forecast.

“It is encouraging to know our residents are securing employment, which helps support our community’s high quality of life,” Striplin said. “We will continue to do everything we can to support businesses and new jobs in our community and hope to see our unemployment rate decrease even further in the months ahead.”



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