Several readers took me to task for my post questioning a new poll in which the majority of Americans still believe we're in a recession. Clearly we're not - and haven't been for the last couple of years. But that doesn't mean the recovery is all that rollicking either. As pointed out by Michael Bernick, part-time employment skyrocketed in June, according to the government's household survey (that's different from the payroll survey that gets most of the media attention) while full time employment fell. California's 12 month rolling average for June showed 1.35 million part time workers, up from 1.34 million in May. "The trend toward part-time employment is not a temporary one," Bernick writes. "It is driven by globalization, technology and increased payroll costs, especially health care costs." The big problem in L.A. is a continued split between high-skilled workers and everyone else. The everyone else crowd is taking it on the chin, as I explain in this week's Business Update on KPCC:
Mark Lacter: You're seeing it with the June employment numbers. L.A. County's jobless rate was 9.7 percent, which is more than two points higher than the national rate. Seems like another lifetime ago, Steve, but in 2006, the L.A. county unemployment rate was 4.4 percent. What's distressing about the current numbers is how they show the inequity of the recovery. The jobless rate for folks with less than a high school degree is in the double digits, while the rate for college graduates is in the low single digits. Young African-American and Latino men are more likely to be out of work than white men. Unemployment in L.A. County varies tremendously by location - anywhere from 3 percent to nearly 20 percent.
Steve Julian: Also by industry, I imagine.
Lacter: The folks in entertainment, finance, and technology are really doing well. And, look at the real estate market, with the median price in L.A. County jumping to $425,000 - more than 30 percent higher in June compared with a year ago. One reason prices have taken off is that there aren't enough homes on the market - and, when a property does go up for sale, buyers are willing to bid over the asking price and they're also willing to pay all cash. That is great if you have the money. And, it's also good for real estate brokers, the interior designers, the contractors, the gardeners, not to mention the local governments that will be collecting more taxes from those home sales.
Julian: But then, people are priced out by these inflated prices.
Lacter: That's right. In early 2012, L.A.'s affordability index was 56 percent (that's the number of households that could afford a median priced home). This year, it's down to 46 percent. This kind of push and pull between wealthy people in L.A. and pretty much everyone else is going to be played out in transportation, housing, and jobs. The question isn't so much L.A.'s resources - it's how to apportion them.