Toni Guinyard, Bobbie Eng
The jobless rate is down to 8.5 percent, its lowest level in almost three years, after the economy added 200,000 jobs in December.
National unemployment figures dipped to 8.5 percent – the lowest numbers since 2009 -- and some Southern California companies are hiring.
Yet people like Christopher Gallas, are still getting handed pink slips. The employment and business development specialist was laid off from his job with the city of Los Angeles Friday.
“I was called next. My number was up,” Gallas said.
Gallas’ job fell into one of the categories that saw higher unemployment numbers last month: government workers.
In other sectors such as manufacturing, food service, health care and construction, tens of thousands of Americans found work.
“It does encourage me,” said Gallas. “I mean there are a lot of jobs that are out there.”
In Southern California, work is coming from companies like Betterworks in Santa Monica. Part of the high-tech “Silicon Beach” community, the company develops business performance software for companies that hope to reward their workers.
“We help companies build great teams by taking care of their people,” said Betterworks CEO Paige Craig, who is currently looking for 20 employees to hire at his growing company.
“We’ll probably double or triple this year, adding another 100 to 150 by the end of the year,” Craig added.
Edwin Duterte of PinkSlipMixers.com said companies are looking for people with high-tech skills, like animators and engineers. His website connects companies with job seekers.
Duterte said in the past four or five months, he’s seen a marked change in Southern California’s landscape and that opportunities in the tech sector are leading the way.
“All these high-tech companies have a lot of cash and they have to do something with that cash,” he said.