Ouch! L.A. jobless rate hits 5%

The March number is the highest since March 2006, and it's quite a jump from February's 4.6 percent level. It's also higher than the state's 4.8 percent unemployment rate and the national 4.4 percent rate. So is this a big deal for the local economy? Probably not - we're still a ways off from the 7 percent levels in 2003 - but it's worth noting that L.A. County saw a population gain of just 6,900 between July 1, 2005 and July 1, 2006. That's a 90 percent decline from the annual average population increase between 2001 and 2005. To give you some comparison, Riverside/San Bernardino's population growth was also down, but only by 11.7 percent. Perhaps growth is slowing because job availability is slowing. But one month is not a trend, so beware of jumping to too many conclusions. Also keep in mind that in a separate survey, total employment in the county grew by 17,000 jobs over the February number (and by 37,100 jobs from March 2006).

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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