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Local jobless rate up slightly

400 more residents found work in October over prior month, but 600 more started searching for work

Posted: November 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Local unemployment numbers for October came out Friday — and while the state and county dropped another one-tenth of a percentage point, Santa Clarita’s jobless rate ticked up slightly by one-tenth of a percentage point.

Digging into the numbers, Jason Crawford, economic development and marketing manager for the city of Santa Clarita, said 400 more Santa Clarita residents got jobs last month compared to September.

There was, however, an increase in the number of people seeking work again — 600 people, which accounted for the slight uptick, he said.

“The good news is 6.3 percent for October 2012 is well below the 7.5 percent we saw in October 2011,” Crawford said.

The state Employment Development Department reported that the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent in October, down from 10.2 percent a month earlier.

That state number is down from 11 percent from a year ago, said Kimberly Ritter, economist at the Kyser Center for Economic Research-Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. There were 45,800 jobs added in the state; more than 295,000 jobs were added over the last year, she said.

“We’re adding jobs at a faster rate in California,” Ritter said. “The number of people employed is up and the number of unemployed went down.”

Los Angeles County’s jobless rate dropped slightly in October to 10.5 percent; down from 10.6 percent in September and down dramatically from 12.2 percent a year ago, Ritter said. Some 41,200 new jobs were added last month, reported the Employment Development Department.

“This represents a 1.5 percent growth in the rate of jobs,” Ritter said. “The county’s growth rate is on par with the rest of the nation.”

Overall, the state and local numbers are looking really good, Ritter said.

What was unusual, however, is that for the second month in a row, government jobs accounted for some 60 percent of the increases in new jobs, Ritter said.

The local government gains were in educational services, according to the Employment Development Department. Jobs in city and county government had losses, offsetting the gains in education services.

All sectors of trade — transportation, utilities, retail and wholesale trade, warehousing, utilities, leisure and hospitality, financial activities and professional and business services — posted gains, the state reported.

Industries that lost jobs in October were information, manufacturing and construction. Most of the losses came from the information sector, Ritter said. Those losses were all in the motion picture and sound recording industry.

As for the future, Ritter believes the state and local levels will see more of the same growth in the fourth quarter and into early 2013 — based on people’s expectations with what might happen as Congress grapples with the doomsday scenario: the fiscal cliff.

With the holiday season coming, Ritter expects spending to be moderate; up a little over last year’s levels.

People have the fiscal cliff and pending loss of the 2 percent payroll tax holiday in mind, she said. Shoppers are thinking about what kind of net pay they’ll be bringing home after the holidays.

Some areas in Northern L.A. County are seeing modest upticks in jobless rates, such as the Antelope Valley. The aerospace industry is accounting for some of that, said Colin Maynard, public relations director with the L.A. County Economic Development Corp.

“What we’ve seen in aerospace is that they’re laying folks off because of fears of the fiscal cliff,” Maynard said. “These are the anticipated effects of sequestration. It’s already having an impact which could ripple out pretty wide in the county.”



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