So-so jobs report for California, L.A.

jobfair.jpgThis was a kind of "on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand" report. It shows an economy that's still trudging along, with positive though hardly stellar results. The August unemployment rate did increase - from 8.7 percent to 8.9 percent statewide and from 9.9 percent to 10.1 percent in L.A. County. However, California reported that 29,100 payroll jobs were added, second highest to New York (L.A. gained 6,500 positions). Job growth in the state, now running 1.5 percent over the past year, remains higher than the U.S. overall (though moving at a slower place than earlier this year). The gains were broad-based, with construction picking up 7,700 spots compared with the past month and 30,000 compared with August 2012. Still, that's well below pre-recession levels. L.A. County saw an additional 1,600 construction jobs and 1,500 manufacturing jobs. So what's with the jump in unemployment? It's a mishmash of explanations - the labor force seems to going up in some places, down in others. Whatever the reason, it's not a great development, considering that the jobless rate remains higher than the national rate of 7.3 percent. L.A.'s 10.1 percent rate is especially hard to sugarcoat; among other metros, NY was at 8.6 percent and Chicago 9.4 percent. Keep in mind that in late 2006 L.A.'s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent. Also not a great sign: Many of the additional jobs came in the leisure and hospitality sectors, which don't pay especially well. "The labor market appears to be going sideways," said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist of the Economic Development Corp. of Los Angeles.

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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
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