LA Unemployment Rate Remains High

Labor statistics show a drop in unemployment claims, but area sees modest job gain.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It was a hopeful sign for job seekers when the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped to its lowest level in nine weeks. But what does that mean for Southern Californians? Stephanie Elam reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 27, 2012.

    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has dropped to its lowest level in nine weeks while overall unemployment remains high.

    Last week the number of unemployment filings were down 26,000 to 359,000, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The four-week average was down 4,500 filings to 374,000.

    It was the first drop in six weeks, but it only shows a modest job gain.

    In Los Angeles County, the jobless rate dropped to 11 percent in August, but experts said that was only because many people have given up searching for work.

    “There’s just really not some big kick that’s going to drive that unemployment rate down anytime soon,” said Kimberly Ritter Martinez, an economist with the LA County Economic Development Corp.

    Yet other cities such as San Francisco there’s been an increase in workforce ranks due to more jobs and durable goods manufacturing, Ritter Martinez said.

    In L.A. there was a much larger concentration of job losses in the food and clothing industries and now in state and local government, Ritter Martinez said.

    Out of the million jobs lost during the recession, Ritter Martinez said, Los Angeles County was the hardest hit. About ⅓ of those jobs lost were in the construction industry, big in L.A. County due to housing, Ritter Martinez said.

    But there may be a silver lining. Over the past year, L.A. County added 74,000 jobs.

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