LA County Unemployment Drops

November marked the lowest jobless rate in the Southland in two years

Unemployment in Los Angeles County dropped below 12 percent in November, making it the fourth consecutive month that county unemployment has fallen, according to the most recent data available from the state Employment Development Department.

Angelenos now boast a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 11.9 percent.

The jump in jobs is due in large part to temporary holiday hiring, said Juan Millan with the California Employment Development Department.

Transportation of goods and retail jobs grew the most over the past month, adding 14,000 and 13,300 jobs respectively, as employers are boosting workers to gear up for the holiday shopping season.

Private and public education, filming and recording, and financial activities posted modest jobs gains for the month, Millan said.

The industry employment survey found that the county gained 10,400 jobs in November, but the household survey – which considers a larger sample of people, including the self-employed – discovered 17,000 jobs were created.

As the county’s unemployment dipped, so did the number of jobs aimed at placing people in work.

Professional and business services lost 4,400 jobs last month, which Millan described as a “rather large number.”

The bulk of these job losses were in administration and support, and mainly composed of employment services and agencies – which lost 1,200 positions, Millan said.

This bittersweet trade off due to L.A. County’s 10,400 industry-jobs gain in November could be an indication that employers are hanging on to their hires, Millan said.

While the latest figures are positive, Millan said it is too early to tell if they are signs of recovery from the Great Recession that began in 2008.

The sag in L.A. County jobless is headed in the right direction, but 581,000 Angelenos are still out of work. This figure is down 14,000 from a month ago and 53,000 less than a year ago, according to the survey.

“Imagine Dodger Stadium packed to capacity,” Millan said of the number of Southland residents who are now working.

The Southland’s unemployment figures have been on the decline since October’s 12.2 percent jobless rate dipped from 12.4 percent in September. This time last year, Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate was more than a percent higher at 13.0.

UCLA’s Anderson Forecast predicts Los Angeles County unemployment will remain in double digits until 2013.

The latest national figures released Dec. 2 suggested a barely buoyed job market when the U.S. unemployment rate dropped below 9 percent in November for the first time in two and a half years.

But that 8.6 percent national jobless rate was not exactly reason to celebrate.

The number of unemployed Americans fell by 594,000 in November, but nearly half of that figure was comprised of people who left the workforce.

A survey by the Department of Labor found that 315,000 people became so discouraged they gave up looking for work, pushing the national jobless rate lower than it has been since March 2009.

The unemployment rate only accounts for Americans who actively look for a job. Meaning they must have searched for a job in the last four weeks through job applications, placement services or even asking friends and relatives for leads.

About 278,000 people in the U.S. found jobs in November, when the private sector grew by 140,000 jobs – most of which were in retail, restaurant and bars, and are likely due to temporary holiday hiring.

Local and state governments lost jobs, shrinking the public sector economy by 20,000 openings in November.

Slightly more than 13 million eligible workers are unemployed in the U.S, and 43 percent of them have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer, according to the survey.

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